Rats.co.nzSpecialist First Response Team to the Canterbury Region

Search Dogs

The RATS search dog team is one of the most successful in the country with dogs operational in both the areas we train for:


Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)


Brenda Rewarding Easy
Brenda Rewarding Easy
USAR Search Dogs are invaluable resources for the location of people trapped following structural collapse due to earthquakes, landslides etc.  The dogs work off lead across the surface of the rubble to locate the source of human scent and indicate this to the their handlers by barking.


Operational USAR search dog teams are members of both NZRT1 and USAR Taskforce Two (CHCH based) but are considered a national resource.  As members of TF2 the team have responded to the Cashel Chambers collapse and the Greymouth tornado.



For more information on USAR dogs please also look at www.usardogs.org.nz which is the website of the USAR Search Dog Association.


Land Search and Rescue


Land SAR is the location of people missing in the Wilderness/Bush environment eg trampers, hunters, children or
disorientated people.  For example the teams have had callouts to areas such Bottle Lake plantation, and up to Arthur’s Pass.


The team have been deployed for Land SAR operations throughout the South Island and average 5-6 callouts/year.


For more information about Land SAR dogs please also look at www.nzlsar.org.nz


Meet the team


We currently have 4 dog handlers and 8 dogs:


Handler:          Brenda Woolley

Dogs:               Milo (Operational USAR and Wilderness)

                        Easy (Operational USAR and Wilderness)

                       Boss (Operational USAR)

                       Keepa (in training)



Handler:          Graham Joseph

Dogs:               Tala (Operational USAR)


Handler:          Linda Pike

Dogs:               Que (In training)


Handler:          Janelle Mackie

Dog:                Cairo (Operational USAR)



If you are interested in training a search dog and joining the RATS team please download this pdf.

Adobe Acrobat DocumentRATS Search Dog Team Information
Adobe Acrobat Document, 262 KB

Please note all members of the Search Dog Team are also members of the RATS team and are required to meet the basic training of RATS team in order to be able to operate in a USAR environment and support RATS work in non search dog events. 

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Updated Wednesday, 22 December 2010