Meet Our Volunteers

Janiece Miller, President

K9 Handler of Parker

Janiece Miller began her Search and Rescue journey with Northwest Horseback Search and Rescue in 2012 where she received the King County Search and Rescue Association Outstanding Volunteer award in 2013 for her contributions. She then joined the Snohomish County K9 team in 2013 with (her now retired partner) Roxy, who certified large area wilderness in 2016.

More about Janiece

Her current partner, Parker is certified in Live-Find Disaster – Type I FEMA Equivalent. They also hold an Area certification from SARDUS and are members of Northwest Disaster Search Dogs. In addition, she volunteers with Skagit Animals in Need and several local nonprofit groups.

She has participated in numerous missions, countless hours of training and has served as K9 Operational Lead on large searches, overseeing K9 teams from multiple counties. She currently serves as our team President.

Candice Church, Vice President

K9 Handler of Monet

Candice Church, Ph.D. has been active in Search and Rescue since early 2017, becoming interested after years of backpacking with her son’s Boy Scout troop. She started K9 SAR with her mix breed rescue, Escher, and worked with him for over two years. She then got Monet, a field bred Labrador Retriever.

More about Candice

Monet is certified in Live-Find Disaster – Type I FEMA Equivalent and is also training in trailing. Monet is an enthusiastic canine partner who is committed to finding his “lost person”. Monet will drag Candice through just about anything to find his subject and get his reward.

Candice enjoys volunteering with local community food banks and also belongs to Northwest Disaster Search Dogs where she and Monet train for disaster (Urban SAR). She currently serves as our team Vice President.

Brenda Stone, Secretary

Photo courtesy of Dan DeVries Photography  

Field Support

Brenda Stone has been active in Search and Rescue since 2003 and is our Board Secretary as well as the “Social Ambassador”.  In this role, she posts our social media content and is in charge of planning our public relations events.

More about Brenda

Brenda has been awarded the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office Award for her service. She also served as the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue Secretary for 7 years and as the K9 Team Secretary for 8 years. Brenda is a mom to an active six-year-old, dog-mom to two fur kids and wife to a SAR K9 handler as well as volunteering with her son’s Cub Scout Pack.  

Brenda finds time to help out whenever and wherever she can. Hiding, runaways and group cohesion are her specialties!

June Mansfield, Treasurer

Photo courtesy of Dan DeVries Photography  

Field Support

June Mansfield has been active in Search and Rescue since 2009 and is a Certified Field Support Member as well as our Treasurer. June has an extensive background in administration and fundraising. June is also a member of Mason County Search Dogs, K9 Forensics Foundation, the WA State SAR Planning Unit and Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue.

More about June

June has been the recipient of the Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue President’s Award which is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the building of SCVSAR. June has also served as the K9 Operational Lead on several large missions utilizing K9 teams from multiple counties.

Suzanne Elshult, Past President

K9 Handler of Keb & Kili

Suzanne Elshult and her dogs have over twenty years of experience in K9 search and rescue and historical detection work.  She and her dogs have deployed on hundreds of missions as they have been inserted by helicopter to search high snowfields on Mt Rainier, traversed steep forested slopes searching for a clandestine grave, searched for victims in the largest landslide disaster in Washington State history, and on urban missions searching for lost children or subjects with dementia.

More about Suzanne

 Suzanne was awarded the State of Washington Search and Rescue Leadership Award in 2017. She was awarded the Tip of the Spear Award by Everett Mountain Rescue for her contributions and recognized by the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue K9 Team as someone who was instrumental in building one of the largest and most committed K9 teams in the State of Washington.

She is currently deploying as a K9 team with Mason County Search and Rescue, and does historical search with both of her dogs with Canine Forensics Foundation. She is the Past President of Cascadia Search Dogs, an organization devoted to sponsoring high quality training and education for the K9 SAR community. She has been certified in SAR Human Remains Detection as well as Historical Human Remains Detection.  In addition she has  certified in Wilderness Airscent, Avalanche and First Responder Disaster with Labrador Retriever K9’s Bosse (who has passed away), Keb and Kili.

She is currently deploying with Keb and Kili as single source human remains detection dogs specializing in land human remains detection with an emphasis on crime scene. She is also certified in Historical HRD with both of her dogs and deploys with the Canine Forensics Foundation.

Suzanne’s commitment to high standards and becoming the very best she can be with her working dogs has led her to certify as a professional SAR K9 team with nationally recognized organizations such as the International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA), the North American Police Working Dog Association (NAPWDA) and the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA). She is a Principal Evaluator with NSDA in several disciplines including human remains detection.

As someone committed to supporting the K9 search and rescue community locally, regionally and globally she volunteers her time helping to coach other teams, speaks at conferences and writes blog posts to challenge the status quo and “bust myths.” She has co-authored a book with Guy Mansfield, published in October 2022: A Dog’s Devotion: True Adventures of a K9 Search and Rescue Team (Lyons Press. https://suzanneelshult.com). K9 Keb was awarded the American Humane SAR Hero Dog Award in 2022.

As a Karen Pryor Certified Training partner, she is committed to positive reinforcement training approaches.

Chris Terpstra

K9 Handler of Makalu

Chris Terpstra has 18 years of experience in the field of Search and Rescue. He is a Founding Member of Cascadia Search Dogs. Chris currently handles K9 Makalu who holds dual Live Find and Human Remains certifications with the National Search Dog Alliance and the International Working Police Dog Association.

More about Chris

Chris and Makalu also have a certification in Open/Water Shoreline search.

Chris is committed to the education of K9 handlers and is focused on ensuring that training is accessible to handlers of every skill level and affiliation.

Chris specializes in Wilderness Area Search. He has responded to hundreds of missing person searches for local, state and federal agencies including the Oso Landslide. Chris frequently consults providing guidance in Canine search strategy and planning, along with mapping and data collection.

He was the recipient of the 2018 Washington State Leadership Award. Never idle, he teaches new handlers in Canine Area Wilderness and Urban SAR. He is also a Principal Evaluator for the National Search Dog Alliance.

John Allan

Photo courtesy of Dan DeVries Photography  

Field Support

John Allan started with Search and Rescue in 2013 and is currently a member of Snohomish County SAR (SCVSAR), the Washington State SAR Planning Unit (WASSPU), and Cascadia Search Dogs (CSD).

More about John

Over the years John has focused on developing his navigation and mapping skills. For the CSD team, he oversees the Field Support Program working with new and current team members to improve their support, navigation, and mapping skills.

For WASSPU John is the lead for their Infrastructure and Technology Team and a mapping analyst. Navigation and mapping are important to the success of any SAR mission and the search teams involved. John’s goal is to help people improve these skills to the best of their ability.

Guy Mansfield

Photo courtesy of Dan DeVries Photography  

Field Support

Guy Mansfield, Ph.D. has been active in Search and Rescue since 2008 and is a certified Field Support Member. In 2018 Guy received Snohomish County’s highest recognition for a SAR volunteer, as well as the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue President’s Award. He has also been recognized with a High Responder Award from Everett Mountain Rescue.

 

More about Guy

Guy is a co-director of the Washington State SAR Planning Unit and has served as Operations Section Chief and Planning Section Chief at some of the largest searches in Washington State. He received special recognition from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for his management of the Oso Double Homicide Search. Guy has presented on SAR process improvement and applied search theory at national and international SAR conferences.

He has co-authored a book with Suzanne Elshult. It is due to be published in 2022: A Dog’s Devotion: True Adventures of a K9 Search and Rescue Team (Lyons Press. https://suzanneelshult.com).

Jessi Beyer

K9 Handler of Phoebe

Jessi Beyer first joined search and rescue in 2019 with the Mountain Wave K9 team based out of the Portland, Oregon area. In addition to her search and rescue volunteerism, she is also an emergency medical technician and trained sexual assault advocate.

More about Jessi

Jessi and her dog, Phoebe, are in training to become a certified trailing team. Jessi has deployed as both K9 trailing and airscent support, and she is excited to certify with Phoebe so she can begin deploying as a K9 handler. Outside of her search and rescue work, she is an entrepreneur, #1 best- selling mental health author, and avid hiker.

Dan Merrifield

K9 Handler of Belle

Dan Merrifield has been active in Search and Rescue since 2011. He has an extensive background and training in mission planning and has served as Planning or Operations Section Chief on numerous SAR missions.

More about Dan

Dan is a member of the WA State SAR Planning Unit, Mason County SAR K9 team, and is a member of the following teams in Snohomish County: SCVSAR Operational Support Unit (OSU), SCVSAR Alderwood Unit, Everett Mountain Rescue Unit and SCVSAR Project Care Track.

Dan and Belle are certified in Historical Human Remains Detection and deploy with the Canine Forensics Foundation.  They are currently training for their land human remains certification.

Steve Johnson

K9 Handler of Shuksan

Steve Johnson, DVM, initially became involved with Search and Rescue while working for the U.S. Forest Service in the mountains of Colorado in the mid-90s. Since that time, he has been involved in multiple SAR/Disaster response groups in Colorado, Minnesota and Washington State and worked as a wildland firefighter in Utah. He joined the local county Search and Rescue K9 team in 2013 and certified his first dog, a German Shepherd – Belgian Malinois mix named Shuksan, in wilderness airscent in January of 2016.

More about Steve

Since 2014 he has deployed on over 70 urban, wilderness and disaster missions, including the Oso mudslide. Steve and Shuksan are currently training for an airscent recertification and a wilderness trailing certification.

Steve has been practicing clinical veterinary medicine for the last 15 plus years and frequently teaches courses in K9 wilderness first responder/fist aid, the most recent at the 2018 Washington Search and Rescue Conference. He serves Cascadia Search Dogs as its Veterinary Medical Officer. When not responding to SAR missions he lives and works in Edmonds Washington with his wife, Mary, their two dogs, Shuksan and Finnegan, and one very spoiled cat.

Kris Lesperance

K9 Handler of Sage

Kris Lesperance, Ph.D. has been active in SAR since 1990. She started as a mantracker with Contra Costa County SAR and mission ready handler with California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA), working as a hasty team member in the (then) abduction capitol of the US. After responding to numerous searches throughout California, a move to Eastern Washington supplied Kris with working knowledge of searching in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. There she responded on over a hundred searches, from high country wilderness to human remains detection on many notable cases.

More about Kris

She became active with NASAR, taught Fundamentals of SAR, evaluated SARTech II certifications, and ran NASAR canine certifications in multiple locations domestically and internationally. She and her husband established their Spokane home as what many called a “SAR Camp,” running integrated multiple SAR discipline trainings and evaluations on their own property and the surrounding public lands. After cofounding two successful search and rescue teams and training hundreds, a move to Hawai’i afforded Kris the opportunity to become the master trainer for the new State Civil Defense (now HEMA) canine urban search and rescue team, where she helped multiple team members reach SARTech II and NASAR Disaster certifications and with deployment on the Kaloko Dam Disaster.

Kris has earned multiple certifications from a lifetime in SAR, from Ice Rescue in a “Gumby suit” to Rescue Systems III, wielding an o’o. Having certified five of her own dogs in different SAR disciplines across her SAR career, Kris has now returned to Washington state, and is grateful and honored to be a part of CSD. She is now training her new pup Sage in Human Remains Detection and Historical Human Remains Detection. She finds joy in assisting the team in achieving its goals, while helping CSD handlers achieve theirs.

Trina Eddy

Photo courtesy of Dan DeVries Photography  

K9 Handler of Glacier

Trina Eddy is a professional dog trainer by trade with a passion for scent work dating back to 1987 and has taught dogs to alert on drugs, explosives, mold, high and low blood sugar levels, rats, keys, cellphones, sheds, medical supplies, people, pets and other objects. 

More about Trina

At 10 months of age, an out of control K-9 Glacier was brought to Trina for obedience and behavioral training. Trina, an established SAR volunteer with intentions of joining the K-9 team, saw his potential, but in no way wanted to live with this crazy GSD. Two weeks after Glacier returned to his home, Trina was contacted by his owner’s son asking for help to rehome him. Trina spent two weeks looking for a good home for this now somewhat trained, high energy project before the owner’s son contacted her begging to give him a try with SAR. Trina begrudgingly agreed to a two-week trial in which she fell deeply in love with this highly driven, loyal, willing to please, still crazy GSD.

Trina and Glacier certified Airscent in 2017.