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Chris Terpstra

Area Search Instructor

Chris Terpstra has been with K9 Search & Rescue since 2004.  His current working canine is Makalu, a high-energy Labrador who is certified with NSDA in Airscent, Large Source, and Avalanche; and with IPWDA in Human Remains Detection. His previous canine Ferdinand was certified in Airscent and trained in Avalanche, Trailing and Human Remains Detection.   Chris has responded to over 400 missions throughout Washington State and British Columbia including the 2014 Oso Mudslide, 2018 Sam Sayers Vesper Peak Search, and 2020 Vincent Djie Mt Rainer Search. With his canine partners, Chris has multiple live and deceased finds.

Chris started teaching and mentoring other K9 SAR Handlers starting in 2010 with a focus on creating better search dogs through engagement, drive building, and foundational work.  Chris has led workshops in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, British Columbia, Idaho, Alaska and California on Airscent, Scent Specific Airscent, Human Remains Recovery, Cadaver and Search Strategy.

Chris also serves as an instructor and evaluator for multiple national search dog organizations and provides training instruction and certification for K9 teams to help ensure superior canine resources are available to communities in their time of need.  He is co-founder of Cascadia Search Dogs, a non-profit that provides training support to search and rescue handlers.  Chris consults as a K9 Detection Specialist, providing guidance in K9 search strategy and planning, resource management, mapping, and data collection.