On August 15, 2005 a new dog came to the Jefferson County Search Dog Association. His job would be different than the other dogs. This dog would be the guide to teach kids about search dogs and safety on a new JCSDA web page. The dog
soon appeared on the website and a contest was held for kids to name him. The name Hunter was the winner.
A New Kids Area was created on October 1, 2005. Several pages from a menu button has Hunter was telling kids all about SAR Dogs and teaching Wilderness Safety. Team pictures of canines in training, at events and just having fun were part of the Kids Area.
By that time, Hunter grew out of the puppy stage and looked more like the working dog you've come to know. His stories and fun pictures generated an interest for children. Kids sent emails asking questions about search and rescue and some even wrote school papers about it. The JCSDA Team was not prepared for Hunter's teaching popularity.
Hunter's popularity grew and in January 2007 he was given his own email account. This was a more comfortable way for kids to find out more about Hunter and to learn. The team could see that with the interest kids took in Hunter, he could be valuable for reaching out to the community.
In October 2008 an eight-page activity booklet titled Be Ready was printed. It included Hunter's Search And Rescue Story to teach children about search dogs and how they work as well as safety, Hunter's Wilderness Tips, a Survival Kit Seek and Find and a Weather Hazard Word Association activity. Most importantly was the I.D. Is Me page where kids (with their parents' help) could record information about themselves with a picture in the event they might get lost. The back page included Hunter's Helper Certificate. As a learning tool, JCSDA Team Members distributed these during school visits and public awareness events.
The booklet was updated and reprinted in April 2009. Hunter refrigerator magnets with JCSDA's emergency numbers were also given out. At the same time, a new Hunter's Search Dog Kids Area was created - this time a single button to a whole new website making it easier to navigate or a direct link to JCSDA.com/kids. Instructional material for teachers was added in 2010. Lesson Plans were written and provided by Mrs. Kennetha Schmits, a 1st Grade teacher at St. Nicholas Academy near Cincinnati, Ohio.
An expanded activity book was printed in 2011 providing more information on how SAR Dogs work and train.
Trading cards, stickers and temporary tattoos soon followed to give out during events. Hunter's Safety Team patches and coffee mugs were also made for special helpers, such as scouts and adult leaders. Hunter's Helpers, Safety Squad and Safety Team shirts were also created for those volunteering to help in SAR Dog training. Hunter even has his own Facebook page - check it out.
Today, Hunter's task is to continue promoting the importance of SAR Dogs, the roles Search Teams play in rescues, how to stay safe and be ready for emergencies. It's very rewarding and if you want to help our team, just let us know.
Mission Statement: Hunter the Search Dog is the mascot of the Jefferson County Search Dog Association, Inc. (JCSDA) in Louisville, KY. Hunter is a division of or subsidiary of JCSDA. His purpose is to be a non-profit, educational training and promotional aid to educate and train the public, with emphasis on minors, on how to prepare for natural disasters, what to do when lost and the prevention of being lost, missing or abducted.