About Us

BOARD of DIRECTORS

President: Susanne Martin, MD

Treasurer: Chris Melville

Secretary: Gabriella Fontana

MEMBERS

Certified and Deployable Teams

Susanne Martin

Status: Active; President, Board of Directors

Current Certifications: Type 2 Wilderness Area Live Find; C2 SAR; Wilderness Medicine; ACLS

Canine Partner: Amica

MBSD Member Since: October, 2011

Bio:

Susanne Martin, MD trained and certified her first Dutch Decoy Dog in Wilderness SAR and disaster SAR in Munich, Germany, in 2001. They participated as a mission-ready team for years in local searches. She is currently certified with her Kooikerhondje Amica in Wilderness Area and C2 with MBSD. Since Amica's initial certification at the age of 3, she and Susanne have gone on to pass two additional re-certification tests, with her third scheduled for this year.

Susanne is a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician and completed her fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Stanford University. She has also undergone further training in Wilderness Medicine.

Susanne enjoys the outdoors and traveling with her Kooikers.

Amica

Certification Status: Certified

Disciplines: Type 2 Wilderness Area Live-Find; C2 SAR

Breed: Kooikerhondje

DOB: July, 2011

Bio:

Amica has been certified in Wilderness Area since the age of 3, and has deployed on many searches with her handler, Susanne, throughout the state of California.

Outside of search and rescue, Amica frequently hikes with Susanne around the Bay Area and participates in local Kooiker get-togethers.

Kristin Pugh

Status: Active

Current Certifications: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD); Wilderness Air Scent (Jet), NASAR SARTech III; NASAR "Managing Lost Person Incident"; WMI/NOLS; SCUBA

Canine Partners: Typhoon and Jet

MBSD Member Since: 2019

Bio:

Since 2009, Kristin has been active in K-9 search and rescue throughout the state of California responding via CalOES. First with CARDA, then Santa Cruz County Sheriff's SAR (2013) and Yosemite/Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks SAR (2015).

Typhoon

Certification Status: Certified

Discipline: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD)

Breed: Black Labrador

DOB:

Bio:

Typhoon trained on C1 HRD from the start and will be specialized in HRD only for his career. Currently, Kristin and Typhoon are working to add water HRD detection to his certification. Typhoon is also certified for Type 1 searches.

Jet

Certification Status: Certified

Discipline: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD)

Breed: Black Labrador

DOB:

Bio:

Jet trained first as a Wilderness Air Scent (Live-Find) dog (with a C2 large source cadaver evaluation). He finished his cross training in 2019 for C1 HRD as well. He and Kristin have participated in many Type 1 OES back-country searches over the years, including searching in the difficult terrain in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Jet retired from Air Scent in 2019 and now focuses on HRD only.

Johnny Subia

Status: Active

Current Certifications: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD), First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: Blū

MBSD Member Since: 2014

Bio:

Johnny Subia is a professional firefighter with the City of Seaside. He became a canine handler in 2006 when he was awarded an Urban Search and Rescue canine named Lola from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. They became a FEMA certified team in 2008. He retired Lola in 2014.

After deciding to transition to Wilderness Area Search and Rescue, Johnny joined MBSD and got Blū in 2014. With the help of Sundowners Kennels trainer and fellow MBSD team member Kate Davern, he went on to certify with Blū in C1 HRD in 2018.

ohnny named the puppy Blū (his full kennel name is Delta Gold Wild Blū Yonder). Johnny officially became a member of MBSD in 2015. He and Blū are currently certified in HRD.

Blū

Certification Status: Certified

Discipline: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD)

Breed: Golden Retriever

DOB: 2014

Bio:

Blū (his full kennel name is Delta Gold Wild Blū Yonder) and his handler Johnny have been certified together in C1 HRD since 2018 and have participated in numerous searches throughout the state of California.

Blū is a two-time cancer survivor and, outside of search and rescue, he also participates in gun-dog training.

In Training Teams and Support Members

Chris and Kai in the field

Chris Melville

Status: Active; Treasurer, Board of Directors

Current Certifications: Wilderness EMT; SCUBA; NASAR SARTech II; Rope Rescue Technician II; Swiftwater Rescue Technician/Advanced

Canine Partner: Kai (Retired; d:2018)

MBSD Member Since: 2003

Bio:

Chris certified in Wilderness Area Live Find with his Yellow Labrador, Kai. They participated regularly in searches across California via CalOES, and also through Santa Cruz County and Monterey County Sheriff's Search and Rescue teams, of which they were also members.

Outside of MBSD, Chris teaches NASAR classes and hikes regularly with his Golden Retriever dogs Emma and Milo.

Pat O'Connell

Status: Active; SAR Coordinator

Current Certifications: EMT; First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: Max (Retired; d:2020)

MBSD Member Since: 2010

Bio:

Pat certified in Wilderness Area Live Find with his Black Labrador, Max. The two participated in many searches statewide via over their career, and have also searched locally with Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, of which they were also members. Upon retiring Max in 2020, Pat continues to volunteer with MBSD as the group's SAR Coordinator where he coordinates call out requests with deployable MBSD teams and represents the group at state SAR meetings.

Pat is a retired firefighter and is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Branciforte Fire District. He enjoys camping, kayaking, hiking, photography, art, and graphic design.

Gabriella Fontana

Status: Active; Secretary, Board of Directors

Current Certifications: NASAR SARTech III; First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: N/A

MBSD Member Since: 2012

Bio:

Gabby joined MBSD without a dog of her own and has assists other MBSD teams with their training. She plans to begin working with a dog of her in the near future!

Prior to joining MBSD, Gabby had been an active volunteer with a variety of organizations, including an equine rescue in El Dorado Hills. Her professional background is in operations and people management, and is currently working in IT project management.

Outside of MBSD, Gabby regularly works with her horse, hikes, and rock climbs.

Kate Davern

Status: Active

Current Certifications: First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: Ace

MBSD Member Since: 2014

Bio:

Prior to joining MBSD, Kate had trained Urban Disaster search dogs, as well as their handlers, towards FEMA certification. She is currently in training with her dog Ace for certification in C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD).

Kate is a second generation professional dog trainer and has competed in AKC performance and conformation events since the age of five. She currently trains hunting, obedience, and behavior modification full-time and manages Sundowners Kennels (family owned and operated) in Gilroy, CA.

Ace

Certification Status: In Training

Discipline: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD)

Breed: Black Labrador

DOB: 2016

Bio:

Ace began his search and rescue training in Wilderness Area before making the switch to C1 HRD as it became clear the discipline was a better fit. He and Kate are working towards their first certification in 2020!

When he's not training with MBSD, Ace participates in Rally and has earned his Rally Advanced title.

Danielle Eldred

Status: Active

Current Certifications: First Aid/CPR/First Aid

Canine Partner: Thunder

MBSD Member Since: 2016

Bio:

Danielle began training with her German Shepherd Thunder in Wilderness Area Live Find in 2016 before pausing training for a couple of years while moving with the military. In 2018 she and Thunder re-joined MBSD and began training once more. Dabnielle has previous dog training experience in Schutzhund tracking and obedience, and she is also SCUBA certified.

Outside of MBSD, Danielle is a writer and artist. She writes, illustrates, and edits books and is also interested and participates in music composition, the Celtic fiddle, Korean Traditional Archery, dancing (ballroom and Argentine Tango), and French language.

Thunder

Certification Status: In Training

Discipline: Wilderness Area Live Find

Breed: German Shepherd

DOB:

Bio:

Thunder has resumed his training in Wilderness Area search following a 2 year move abroad with his handler Danielle. He is a Monterey native, out of Von Der Pfalz kennels in Hollister.

Ashley McClung

Status: Active

Current Certifications: NASAR SARTech III; First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: Zephyr

MBSD Member Since: 2016

Bio:

Ashley joined MBSD with her Pitbull mix dog Popeye. The team had previously been members of Mendocino County Search and Rescue and were certified as both a Wilderness Area Live Find and C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD) team. Upon joining MBSD they certified in Wilderness Area Live Find and participated in several searches across California. Now, Ashley is looking forward to working with her puppy, Zephyr, in Wilderness Area training.

Ashley's search and rescue (SAR) career began with Mendocino County Search and Rescue when she had her lab mix, Ella, back in 2012. She began training Popeye in 2014, upon making the decision to retire Ella from SAR training.

Ashley is a Registered Professional Forester in California. She has spent countless hours and days navigating through the woods alone for her profession (8+ years). She found that her background knowledge in land navigation has aided her tremendously in her SAR career. She is also currently working as a dog trainer in Santa Cruz, and outside of MBSD she enjoys hiking with her dogs and writing.

Zephyr Fire

Certification Status: In Training

Discipline: Wilderness Area Live Find

Breed: Black Labrador

DOB: 2020

Bio:

Zephyr began his training with MBSD in July, 2020! He is preparing to train for Wilderness Area certification in a couple years.

Ila Palmquist

Status: Active

Current Certifications: NASAR SARTech III; First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: Hobbes (Retired)

MBSD Member Since: February, 2017

Bio:

Ila been training with Monterey Bay Search Dogs in 2012 with her Shepherd mix, Hobbes, in Wilderness Area Live Find. Although she made the difficult decision to discontinue his SAR training, she continues to support MBSD by assisting with the training of other teams.

Ila's educational background is in Wildlife Biology, but she has made her love for dogs and the outdoors into a career, by way of her dog walking company, Woofpack, based in Santa Cruz. She is currently volunteering as a Behavior Modification trainer at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and has previously volunteered at Pinnacles National Park.

Outside of MBSD, Ila participates in a variety of outdoor activities including rock climbing, mountain biking, and surfing, as well as trail running and backpacking with her dogs.

Julia Cesari

Photo and Bio Coming Soon

Status: Active; Apprentice

Current Certifications:

Canine Partner: N/A

MBSD Apprentice Member Since: 2018

Bio:


Abbie Asche

Photo and Bio Coming Soon

Status: Active; Apprentice

Current Certifications:

Canine Partner: Chica

MBSD Apprentice Member Since: 2018

Bio:

Chica

Photo and Bio Coming Soon

Certification Status: In Training

Discipline: C1 Human Remains Detection (HRD)

Breed:

DOB: 2019

Bio:

Melissa Clark

Photo and Bio Coming Soon

Status: Active; Apprentice

Current Certifications:

Canine Partner:

MBSD Apprentice Member Since: 2020

Bio:

EMERITUS

Serena

Status: Inactive

Former Certifications:

Canine Partner: Emmi

MBSD Member: 2014-2019

Bio:

Serena has always actively participated in volunteering, especially with dogs. She has raised four guide dog puppies for the blind through 4-H starting at the age of 12. She worked as a dog sled guide in WY for a year, combined with working as a park ranger for the forest service and park service for six years around various spots in the U.S. While with MBSD, Serena began training her Catahoula/Queensland mix, Emmi, in Human Remains Detection (HRD).

Emmi

Emmi, a thoughtful little Catahoula/Queensland mix, is in training, with her handler Serena, for Human Remains Detection (HRD). This young girl is methodical about her work and is progressing nicely! In her spare time, Emmi enjoys long hikes in woods and long naps in her house just about equally!

Hobbes

Hobbes, a Shepherd, is in training for Wilderness Area with his handler, Ila. He's taking quickly to the discipline and hopes to have a bright future in the SAR world! Named after the cartoon cat, canine Hobbes is a bit like his namesake in that he also is quite the ideal friend! When he's not training for Wilderness Area, Hobbes loves walking with his dog pack and having fun at the beach.

Lew Henderson

Status: Inactive

Current Certifications: NASAR SARTech II; First Aid/CPR/AED

Canine Partner: Hanna

MBSD Member: 2017-2020

Bio:

Lew and his Wilderness Area search dog Hanna were, until recently, members of the San Luis Obispo County SAR team and members of CARDA (a sister organization to MBSD) from 2012 until 2017. Lew and Hanna have searched in support of mutual aid as far north as Butte county and east to Alpine county in the Sierras, as well as many local SLO county searches. Lew is a retired reserve US Army Infantry and Special Operations officer as well as a retired defense contractor. He has been a participant and instructor in six annual Locating the Dead K-9 training exercises. He teaches survival and co-taught land navigation with a GPS, map, and compass.

Since moving to Monterey in November of 2017, Lew has joined the Monterey County Sheriff’s SAR team and, along with Hanna, Monterey Bay Search Dogs. Lew is also a member of the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR) and is NASAR SARTECH II certified. He has completed the 40 hour Direction and Control course taught by OES and maintains his Emergency Medical Response and AED/CPR certifications.

Hanna

Hanna is a smooth-coated Collie. Now six (2018), she has trained since about four months old as a Wilderness Area search dog. When certified, she had searched throughout the state of California. Currently, Hanna's in the process of re-certifying with Monterey Bay Search Dogs with her handler, Lew. Not a fan of riding in cars and trucks, her favorite modes of transportation are in Lew's motorcycle sidecar and CHP and National Guard Search and Rescue helicopters!

Pat Grant

Dr. Grant has been a team member of the California Task Force 3 Urban Search and Rescue since its inception in 1991. She has deployed as a FEMA Type 1 Canine Team with her partner Topper to the Oklahoma City Bombing in April 1995 and to the World Trade Center in September 2001. She was also the veterinarian on the Incident Support Team for the Columbia Shuttle Recovery Mission in February of 2003. In addition to her team activities with search and as a canine coordinator, Dr. Grant is a rostered DHS/FEMA CSSCP Evaluator, the certification process for search dogs. She also teaches as a subject matter expert in the Medical Specialist Course given to medics and doctors, teaching them to care for their canine charges.

Dr. Grant received her veterinary degree from Texas A&M University in 1984. She is also a charter member of the Monterey Bay Search Dogs since its inception in 1984, and she works part time at a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

Read Topper's Story.

Chantal Rose

Chantal has 13 years of Search & Rescue experience in both wilderness and urban settings. Chantal is the Training Director for Monterey Bay Search Dogs and has served as the Canine Coordinator for both California Task Force 3 (CATF3) and the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office SAR Team. In addition to being a certified K9 handler, she is an Instructor for Mar-Ken International, a P.O.S.T. Evaluator, and an OES Search Manager. Chantal also regularly contributes to the community as a Hug-A-Tree Presenter.

Chantal's training includes Rescue Systems 1, Wilderness First Responder/CPR, and NIMS 700-800.

Steve Hilts

Steve has been a member of Monterey Bay Search Dogs since 2002. He and his K9 partner Daisy (retired) are a FEMA certified disaster Search and Rescue team and member of California Task Force 3 (CATF3); they deployed with the Task Force to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Ernesto in 2006, and most recently, to Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Steve also volunteers for the Red Cross as a member of their Disaster Action Team and as an Emergency Response Vehicle Driver. He deployed with the Red Cross to Hurricane Dean and the San Diego fires, both in 2007.

Steve loves being outdoors, and enjoys Ocean Kayaking, rock & ice climbing, mountain biking, long distance running, hiking and swimming, and Yoga. He is a nationally Registered EMT-B and an Advanced SCUBA Diver.

Daisy

Daisy is a yellow Labrador and has been trained in the disaster and wilderness search and rescue disciplines. She and her handler, Steve, have worked many search cases in their career together here in California, and have even deployed with FEMA to hurricanes Katrina, Ernesto, and Gustav. Daisy steals the hearts of everyone she meets thanks to her adorable face and equally adorable personality. She is rather famous for her “embarrassed” trick, where she rolls over and hides her face in her paws! Daisy has recently retired at the end of 2015 and is enjoying a well-deserved break after a long, rewarding career.

Rest in Peace, Daisy

2002-2016

Search Dog Kai

Kai

Kai is a yellow Labrador and is trained for Wilderness Area search and rescue. He recently retired from search work after his many years volunteering with his handler, Chris, on the Santa Cruz County and Monterey County sheriff’s search and rescue teams. At about 12 years old, Kai has had quite the career, with many searches and several finds to his name! Now, Kai helps out at trainings - showing other dogs, and new handlers, how wilderness searching is done! Kai is famous for his happy “grin” when he sees someone he knows.

Rest in Peace, Kai

9/29/2003-6/2/2018

Dan Blanchard

Dan was in training with his German Shepherd dog,

Teressa Harnois

Teressa has been a member of Monterey Bay Search Dogs since 2010. Teressa and her K9 partner Phoxie certified as a FEMA Disaster Search and Rescue team in October 2012 and are members of California Task Force 3 (CATF3). Teressa feels that her first year and a half participating in weekly MBSD trainings, including wilderness area search and disaster search trainings, as a "victim" and handling team member's dogs were invaluable experiences and helped prepare her for training and certifying Phoxie.

Teressa also has been a member of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team as a non-K9 search resource since 2010 and has participated in various searches.

When not training and playing with Phoxie, Teressa enjoys photography, hiking, gardening and SCUBA diving with her husband. She is an Advanced SCUBA Diver.

Tony

Toni, another Kooikerhondje, is Amica’s friend. Already a certified therapy dog, Toni is now also in training for Human Remains Detection (HRD) with his handler, Susanne. He is an eager worker and loves to attend trainings. Toni is a pretty sensitive little guy, but he loves to sniff his way through underbrush all the same. This stunning boy is known for his laid-back, delicate personality. And, he is always willing to accept lots and lots of attention!

Miranda

Miranda and her canine partner Marcy (retired) are certified in Human Remains Detection and volunteer for the Monterey County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team.

Miranda got involved in SAR in 2005 when training and certifying her first dog, Izzy (retired), in Wilderness Area Search. Over the years her training has included technical rope rescue, swift water, helicopter safety, and first responder.

Miranda's interests include back country backpacking, running, and training her dogs.

Marcy

Marcy

Marcy, a Border Collie, retired many years as a certified Human Remains Detection (HRD) dog at the end of 2017. Few dogs have the intense focus and drive that Marcy possesses when on the job, and she and her handler Miranda have worked many successful searches and even had the recent opportunity, thanks to her affiliation with CSST, to travel to search for the remains of Amelia Earhart. Marcy and Miranda were also affiliated with the Monterey County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team. Marcy is famous for her award-winning “smile” and enjoys dock-diving for tennis balls and playing with her dog/cat/tortoise/pig friends in her spare time!

Jeannie and Shadow

Jeannie Alexander

Jeannie is training her dog Shadow in Human Remains Detection. Jeannie is a Nurse and loves working in Emergency Medicine and Labor and Delivery. She has been with Big Sur Fire for over 15 years and is the Medical Captain for her Department. She also volunteers for the Monterey County Sheriffs Search and Rescue team. She is certified in cliff rescue, swift water rescue, firefighting, and hazmat. She is a practicing EMT, CPR instructor, and teaches an EMT class at Monterey Peninsula College.

Jeannie lives on a ranch in Big Sur with her family, where she enjoys hiking, gardening, bee keeping, and taking care of the many animals on the ranch. When away from the ranch she enjoys traveling, scuba diving with her kids, and long quiet walks on the beach with her k9 partner, Shadow.

Shadow

Shadow

Shadow, a German Shepherd, is in training for Human Remains Detection (HRD) with his handler, Jeannie. He is a big guy, young at heart, and has lots of energy to spare! He never seems to be having a bad day. Shadow has a heart of gold and always gets excited for his trainings!

Rest In Peace, Shadow

-6/2020

Erroin Martin


Hobbes

Hobbes, a Shepherd, is in training for Wilderness Area with his handler, Ila. He's taking quickly to the discipline and hopes to have a bright future in the SAR world! Named after the cartoon cat, canine Hobbes is a bit like his namesake in that he also is quite the ideal friend! When he's not training for Wilderness Area, Hobbes loves walking with his dog pack and having fun at the beach.

Max

Max

Max is one enormous, goofy, black Labrador. You can usually find him loping along a grassy trail, tongue out, and paws flying. He is one of the happiest dogs you will ever meet! Max is currently certified, with his handler Pat, for Wilderness Area. He is very dedicated to sniffing down those who are lost, and is always so excited once he finds them. Max is known for his wonderful, agreeable, and happy personality!

Rest In Peace, Max

-6/2020

Popeye

Popeye is a six year old mixed breed dog. He started out as an energetic, mischievous foster puppy. He split his time between his handler Ashley's home and another foster home. He would come to Mendocino County trainings and watch from the truck as Ashley trained Ella. He had this yearning look on his face, "Pick me! Pick me! I can do it! I promise I will do whatever you want!" When he was 18 months old his dream finally came true: Ashley pulled him from the truck. Popeye excelled at search training. Suddenly, all of that energy was directed towards searching and with lots of hard work the mischief disappeared. He certified (with Mendocino County) in Wilderness search 13 months later. Six months after that he certified in HRD (with Mendocino County). He recently certified with MBSD in Wilderness Area and hopes to certify soon with HRD (with MBSD).

Popeye is a happy, high drive dog with a lot of personality. He speaks with his facial expressions. He takes his search and rescue job very seriously and refuses to let anything stand in his way. When Popeye is not searching. he enjoys cuddles with his family, and spending time with his dog and people friends.