Dora & Joe Zakar

Team Info


Task Force: California Task Force 8 (CA-TF8)
Agency: San Diego Fire-Rescue
Level: DHS/FEMA Certified
Most Recent Certification: October 28, 2018


Search Dog Info

Breed: Black Lab
Sex: Female
Born: November 29, 2015
Recruited from: Sacramento County Animal Care & Regulation in Sacramento, CA
Recruited by: Kirsten Fulk
Sponsor: The Joel and Dena Gambord Charitable Foundation

Dora was picked up as a stray by Sacramento County Animal Care & Regulation in Northern California in the fall of 2016. Shelter staff, knowledgeable about SDF and our training program, noticed how ball crazy Dora was and immediately thought to give us a call about evaluating her as a potential candidate. They contacted Sylvia Stoney, Canine Recruitment Manager at SDF, who then asked Regional Canine Recruiter Kirsten Fulk to take a look, since she would be driving through the area. Kirsten said she knew right away looking at Dora that she had potential for this field.

After a successful evaluation, Kirsten adopted Dora and brought her down to SDF’s National Training Center in Santa Paula, California, in December of 2016. Our training staff screened Dora and, showing her innate skills on a rubble pile, she was immediately accepted into the program that day.

Since she began training for Urban Disaster Search and Rescue, Dora has learned to focus her high energy and channel it into the search game. She loves to play tug and has a great bark once she locates the “victim” hiding in the rubble!

On November 3, 2017, Dora was paired with San Diego Fire-Rescue Engineer Joe Zakar. The two proved they were well-suited for one another throughout the two-week Handlers Course they participated in together at SDF’s National Training Center.

Following graduation, the new team returned to San Diego and immediately began working with their California Task Force 8 teammates in preparation for Certification with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Achieving Certification is the next step required so that they can deploy to search for people when the call comes. Best of luck to you Dora & Joe!