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Today, five-year-old English Springer Spaniel Pride ‘N Joy’s Juno-Lupa, better known as “Juno,” and her handler Beckie Stanevich, AKC Delegate for the Mountaineer Kennel Club, became the first dog and handler team to receive the new American Kennel Club Urban Search and Rescue (SAR) title. The pair, which serves on FEMA’s Ohio Task Force One and deploys to federal disaster locations, was honored at the September AKC Delegates meeting.

Search and Rescue dogs help find lost or trapped people, human remains, and are used to assist human efforts during major disasters, wartime and border protection. The importance, recognition and need for these canines in the United States has grown steadily over the last decade, and the AKC is proud to recognize the life-changing work that dogs like “Juno” perform.

“Search and Rescue is a modern day working function for our dogs. The attributes required have been maintained and enhanced in our traditional Performance and Companion events.  High drive, sound temperament, scent discrimination, obedience and agility are some the characteristics of an outstanding SAR dog,” said Doug Ljungren, AKC Vice President of Companion/Performance Events. “The AKC is proud to recognize those that excel at this important function and to memorialize their skill and service on an AKC pedigree.”

The initial titles, recognizing FEMA and state deployable Urban SAR dogs, can be added to a dog’s name and pedigree to designate its SAR skills and accomplishments.

In addition to “Juno,” SAR dogs “Kaiser,” a German Shepherd Dog owned by Tony Zintsmaster, “Bretagne,” a Golden Retriever owned by Denise Corliss, and “Morgan,” an English Springer Spaniel owned by Katrene Johnson, also received AKC titles presented by AKC Companion Animal Recovery CEO Tom Sharp in a ceremony at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, which celebrated the grand opening of its training center today. “Kaiser” and “Bretagne” worked at the World Trade Center following the attacks of 9/11, while “Morgan” searched for human remains at the Staten Island Landfill.


The mission of the Center is to serve as a consortium for programs that employ dogs to detect threats to local, regional and national security. The overarching goal is to collect and analyze genetic, behavioral and physical data, and integrate the latest scientific information in order to optimize the success and well-being of detection dogs.

Funded by multiple grants from the AKC Companion Animal Recovery totaling nearly $200,000, one of the Center’s current programs is the AKC CAR Detection Dog DNA Bank and Health Registry. The program will help search and rescue organizations, law enforcement, breeders and handlers identify the genetic and behavioral factors contributing to the success of these vital dogs. 

This month, AKC Pick of the Litter podcast listeners will have the opportunity to enjoy an interview with the first SAR titleholder Beckie Stanevich, and also hear from Dr. Cindy Otto, Director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Rounding out the special August/September SAR edition of the podcast is an on-site interview with the Ramapo Rescue Dog Association in Mahwah, NJ, where AKC staffers took part in a training exercise and simulated rescue. 

The owners of Urban Search and Rescue dogs that are FEMA or state deployable can request a title by downloading and completing this form. The dog must be AKC registered.  The owner is required to also submit a copy of the certificate the dog received from FEMA or the State organization in order to verify the dog has been certified.



Becky Stanevich and “Juno” received AKC’s first Urban Search And Rescue
title at the Delegates Meeting on Sept. 11, 2012

Today, five-year-old English Springer Spaniel Pride ‘N Joy’s Juno-Lupa, better known as…