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ARDA Weekend 2008: Back to Basics


Prepared by Autumn Manka

10 - 12 October 2008

Click to see photos

ARDA's Annual Weekend of training in 2008 brought together most of it's six units, as well as a new applicant unit from Colorado! Search & Rescue Dogs of Maryland (SARDOM) hosted the event and Maria Hillegas spearheaded the planning with help from Kellee Milheim. ARDA had visitors from Germany attending as well! Edith Vieser, of BRH Bundesverband Rettungshunde eV. (Confederation Rescue Dog Association ), and two teammates observed throughout the weekend and shared ideas

The weekend started out with a Friday evening checkin, complete with the first goodie bag! Teams were housed in rustic wooden cabins in Virginia sPrince William Forest National Park. Saturday morning started bright and early at 7am with a warm breakfast, cooked by SAR volunteers, before members attended various clases, from GPS to tracking. After lunch from Chick-Fil-A, teams with canines dispersed to 10 various training stations.

Saturday night was spent in a huge pavillion with catered BBQ as units mingled and swapped search stores. The evenign ended with a comedic skit put on by members of Virginia Search & Rescue Dog Association.

Sunday's breakfast served a dual purpose as an ARDA General Membership meeting. President, Jennifer Massey presided over the meeting and Mountain ARDA-Colorado Search & Recue Dogs (MACSAR Dogs) instroduced themselves. After lunch, an extensive Mock Search Began, utilizing trailing dogs as well as air-scent dogs. Four subjects were found by the end of the day!

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