March 18, 2016
To our valued students, instructors, and staff:
Another successful canine training seminar is in the books. We wish to thank everyone who attended and chose to support our team and our seminar. We fully recognize there are many other options when it comes to canine training and seminar opportunities. It humbles us that you chose to attend our event. We take pride in putting on a challenging, educational, and captivating week for you and your working dogs. We hope that your expectations were met. If not, please contact us and tell us how we can do better for next year.
This year’s classes for trailing, live search air scenting, and human remains detection consisted of a very diverse student base as always. Students came from Missouri, Iowa, Texas, Arkansas, among other locations. They brought with them working dogs with a variety of experience levels. We were pleased to hear reports of the progress younger dogs were making and the continued good work done by the more veteran canines. Many students and canines received certifications that will inevitably help them as they do their jobs back home.
There were many questions surrounding the days leading up to the seminar. One in particular dealt with the unfortunate weather and devastating flooding that crippled the Ark-La-Tex just two days before we were scheduled to start. Despite the road closures and flooding, we were committed to pressing forward. For the first three days skies were sunny and the temperatures were warm. We had a hiccup on day four (Thursday) as a cold front pushed severe weather through the area. As always, our talented instructors found ways to work through the rain and mud and finish training. Don’t worry about the stuck Gator cart in the air scenting class.
The trailing class was led by probably the most instructors we have ever had for one single class. Mark Holmes, Corbin and Jamie Hodge, GL Potts, Cheri Sorrenson, and our very own “Assistant Instructor” Dan Fischer imparted knowledge on 18 students. Trails were again laid by students in the Calvary Baptist Academy (CBA) Beta Club. These students volunteered to hide for the trailing dogs in order to earn service hours. We thank CBA for their continued support of our cause.
Live search air scenting was led by the team of Sarah Garfunkel and Michelle Metzner. Their training locations took them all around Scottsville, Texas including oil fields, pastures, and indoor locations at a school in Shreveport. A few students in this class certified to NASAR standards for both wilderness searches as well as Human Remains Detection (HRD).
Speaking of HRD, Ben Alexander and Brianna Acevedo led a group with many young dogs and handlers. Many of these dogs were getting exposed to odor for the very first time. They all made great strides to starting what we hope to be a long and successful career. Locations for training included the camp in Scottsville and rubble piles and school in Shreveport.
Thursday night’s auction was a humongous success. We would like to thank everyone who contributed items for the auction. We would like to especially thank those who bid on items. The biggest prize of the night came from Cheri Sorrenson would donated her talent of drawing canines. She agreed to draw by hand a dog of choice for the highest bidder. She even threw in a frame for the artwork. Words do not do her talent justice. Her drawings are breathtaking. The winning bid was placed at $375. Kevin Kidwell, one of our team’s bloodhound handlers, convinced his mother to make some of her beautiful quilts and blankets again this year. Kevin’s family was affected by this past week’s flooding. Our team felt it only appropriate that all money collected from the handmade blankets go straight to the Kidwell family. Kevin expressed his great thanks for the generosity of all involved.
No seminar would be complete without great food! We had it again this year as the staff of the Scottsville Camp and Conference Center came through with delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to keep hungry and exhausted students and instructors fueled. They worked non-stop, often starting at 5 in the morning. This, however, did not stop them from greeting everyone with a smile and providing friendly service. The smiles made even the most tiring day better. We would like to thank every other staff member for the part they played in getting the camp ready and providing support throughout the week.
We have yet to settle on a date for next year’s seminar. If you took pictures during the week of classes, training, or social events and would like to share them, please email them to email@example.com. We would love to put them on Facebook and our website. We wish you all safe travels and look forward to seeing each of you next year. Do not forget to bring a friend. We had several referrals this year which is fantastic. Until then, stay safe and keep training!
Members of the Shreveport Fire Department K9 Search and Rescue Task Force