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Joan M. Brehm

What is your specialty?

Search and Rescue K9 Trainer and Handler

Tell us more about what you do.

I have been training and working K9s for Search and Rescue for over 20 years in a variety of disciplines, including area search, human remains detection, disaster and avalanche rescue. Every day I am in awe at what we can train our dogs to do to help in times of disasters or emergencies. Seeing a dog use their powerful nose to locate a missing person is something that continually amazes me and inspires me. As a volunteer, the challenge is finding time for the consistent training and drill work that these dogs crave and require. But it is something I am passionate about, which means that many vacations and much of my personal time is spent focused on training. Sometimes family and friends may not understand all that time, but when you see the results of a well-trained dog making a difference for one family in a time of crisis, every single minute is worth it.

What gets you pumped up every day about what you do?

I am always striving to learn new tools and methods for training and have witnessed significant strides forward over the last 20 years, but I think we still are just barely scratching the surface of a dogs true capability. To see a dog 'hunt' as it was bred to do and to watch their true genetics work to help others is simply awe inspiring. I am so motivated to keep pushing the envelope in my training and to take our dogs' capabilities to the next level. Nothing can compare to the power of a dog's nose. I am very happy in our program direction this far, but I always strive to be better; whether it be in our facility or puppy selections. My ultimate goal is to be 100% putting our puppies into the working dog field of explosives, narcotics or tracking.

What goals have you not accomplished?

There are many really, but most of them revolve around finding more time to pursue the passion of K9 Search and Rescue training. Along with that is the goal of helping others to push their training to a whole new level of proficiency, raising the bar for K9 SAR teams.

What keeps you up at night in pursuit of your goals?

The mission of helping families in need. It is all about providing the most highly trained K9 assets to assist in a time of emergency or disaster. It is not about MY dog personally, but about providing the most highly trained assets to be efficient and effective. That means we have to continually seek out the best training assets possible to ensure this level of effective response.

What do you love most about the Dakota 283 products?

I love that they provide unparalleled safety for my K9 partners. Every time I get in my vehicle I have concerns for their safety and I have spent a lot of time researching the best options that also provide comfort and ease of use. Dakota Kennels meet all of those objectives!



McLean County Emergency Management Agency, K9 Operations Team

1214 Koch St

Bloomington, IL



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