On Friday, January 20, 2017, SDF proudly added two new Search Teams to our roster during the Search Team Graduation Ceremony at our NTC. Bob George & Shadow and Mike Toepfer & Demi join the ranks of 63 SDF-trained Search Teams nationwide as part of California Task Force 2, part of Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Despite heavy rain, the Graduation Ceremony was moved inside the Petco Foundation Canine Pavilion where veteran Search Teams, canine recruiters, Search Dog Sponsors, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Harris, SDF’s staff, friends and family gathered to celebrate this great accomplishment. The ceremony shared the Search Dogs’ stories of recruitment from the shelter as well as anecdotes from their months of intensive training at our National Training Center.
See the Search Team Graduation Ceremony program here.
To learn more about how you can become a Search Dog Sponsor, click here!
Check out some of our favorite photos from the day!
SDF’s newest Search Teams pose with part of the support team that helped them successfully complete their initial training. (L to R) Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Harris, Bob George & Shadow, Trainer Emily Fisk, Mike Toepfer & Demi, Trainers Lyz Gregory and Sonja Heritage.
SDF Founder Wilma Melville speaks to the crowd during the Search Team Graduation Ceremony.
SDF’s Canine Training Team completes the “vesting” ceremony when Demi and Shadow were both presented with their official Search Dog vests.
Graduating Handler Bob George thanks his support team during the ceremony.
Graduating Handler Mike Toepfer thanks his family and fire department for their support in being partnered with new Search Dog Demi.
SDF Canine Trainer Lyz Gregory shares the special bond that grew between her and Demi during their months training together.
SDF Canine Trainer Emily Fisk shares Shadow’s rescue and training story.
SDF’s Canine Training Team congratulate the new graduates at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Several Los Angeles County Fire Department Search Teams were on-hand to congratulate their newest team members. (L to R) Jason Dobbins & Diva, Mike Toepfer & Demi, Dennis Clark (Search Dog Rugby not pictured), Bob George & Shadow and Manny Sampang & Eva.