Management

Kristi Smith, CVT, IACP CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT

I have had a love and dedication to training dogs my entire life. I began training dogs competitively in my teenage years when I began showing Rough Collies and Doberman Pinschers in Conformation and Obedience Classes for my parents and began training dogs professionally in 1981. I titled my first Breed Champion, a Doberman Pinscher, when I was only 13 years old. In 1982 I joined the Victoria Dog Obedience Club where I was an active member and Obedience Instructor teaching Novice, Open, Utility and Puppy Classes and was on one of the first Agility Teams in the United States. Throughout the years, I have constantly expanded my education in regards to dog training and in particular working with difficult behavioral issues such as aggression. I specialize in evaluating behavioral issues and defining programs to assist owners in overcoming these issues with their canine companions.

I am a Certified Veterinary Technician and have served on the Board of Directors for the Veterinary Health Care Team of Arizona since 2002. I served as the Education Committee Chairman from 2002-2009, setting educational opportunities for Veterinary Staff statewide, I served from 2008-2009 as the President. I continually work with and collaborate with Veterinarians and Veterinary Staff on educational programs for the general public as an advocate for keeping pets in their homes through proper training and reducing the numbers of pets in shelters by spaying and neutering.

I have been a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) since 2005 and am a Certified Dog Trainer (CDT), Certified Dog Trainer Advanced (CDTA), a Professional Dog Trainer Instructor (PDTI), and one of the first 3 members to achieve the Certified Service Dog Trainer (CSDT) with this organization.  In 2017 at the IACP Annual Conference, I was recognized as an Ambassador for the Organization.  I have served on the IACP Service Dog Committee since 2012 and served as Chairperson of the committee in 2014. With all of the fraud and/or improperly trained service dogs it is important that we set standards that do not trample on the rights of those disabled persons that require a service dog to mitigate their disabilities while educating business owners on what they can and cannot ask as well as what the appropriate behavior for a service animal is in the hopes that this will help reduce the amount of fraudulent or improperly trained service dogs. We are currently working on an Internationally recognized Public Access Test for Service Dogs and have just launched a Test for Service Dog Trainers.

In 1988 I took an interest in Search and Rescue and have volunteered countless hours every year since, in this endeavor. During my years of involvement with SAR I have responded to numerous searches, nationally and internationally, that resulted in many finds and letters of commendation for service. In 1997 alone I responded to approximately 35 searches as a K-9 Team Leader and Handler of Sheik & Remington, which resulted in them having many finds. These finds included wilderness, water, urban, disaster, cadaver, evidence and bone identification. I began my SAR Career with the Kentucky Search Dog Association. I was instrumental in the formation of MARK-9 (Maricopa Association of Rescue K9’s) and Arizona Search Track and Rescue, Inc. (a non-profit organization) and have served in numerous capacities with both organizations. I also helped set some of the highest standards and testing & evaluation procedures for K-9′s and Handlers in the state with these organizations. Currently Arizona Search Track and Rescue, Inc. has some of the highest standards in the Nation. The past few years we have responded to over 40 searches a year with approximately 98+ search days each year. I have trained 9 of my own dogs to Advanced Operational Levels and have assisted in the training of hundreds of other Operational SAR Dogs across the country. I currently have three operationally trained SAR dogs who are at advanced levels, as well as a young dog at a basic Operational Level, working towards advanced certifications.

My AZ STaR Roles have included: Founder of AZ STaR in 1998, Board of Director President, Commander, Training Officer, Standards & Records Officer, Team Leader, Public Information Officer, Search Management, Lead Instructor, and Operational K9 Handler in the following disciplines: Airscent, Trailing, Cadaver, Water, Evidence and Human Remains Detection.

Outside of working my dogs, I volunteer many hours doing guest speaking, public appearances, demonstrations and working with youth and adult groups to educate them about wilderness safety as well as the capabilities of search dogs in various disciplines. Additionally, I became certified through The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) as a Dive Master (professional level diver) in 2010. I teach and assist in teaching many scuba diving courses.

Other Professional Organizations

  • Professional Association of Diving Instructors, since 2010
  • Veterinary Health Care Team of Arizona; Past President, Director & Member since 2002
  • International Association of Canine Professionals, Professional Level member since 2005,
  • Certified Dog Trainer, Certified Dog Trainer Advanced, Professional Dog Trainer Instructor
  • Canine Political Action Committee; Member and Sponsor – 2007
  • National Association of Small Business Employers; since 2005
  • NASAR Member; since 1989
  • American Red Cross Volunteer & Health and Safety Instructor; 2000 to 2006
  • American Belgian Tervuren Club: Member; 1989 – 2006, 2011 to present
  • Victoria Dog Obedience Club; Member / Trainer; 1982 to 2000
  • American Bloodhound Club, Member 2011

Arizona Search Track and Rescue, Inc: 1998-Present

  • SAR Dog Handler 2/98 – Present
  • Team leader 2/98 – Present
  • Training Officer 2/98 – Present
  • Commander 2/07 – Present
  • Training Instructor for Outside Programs & Presentations 2/98 – Present

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office: 1993 – 1998

  • Desert Search Unit & Maricopa Association of Search Dogs (MARK-9)
  • SAR Dog Handler & Man-tracker for MCSO Desert Search Unit from 8-93 through 10-1996
  • Commander of MARK-9 (newly formed SAR K-9 unit) 10/96 – 9/97
  • SAR Dog Handler 8/93 – 5/98
  • Team leader 8/93 – 5/98

Kentucky Search Dog Association, 1988 -1993 (active Member) 1993-2004 (Inactive Member)

  • Director, Secretary
  • Standards & Records Officer
  • Assistant Training Officer
  • Operational Level I & II Search Dog Handler
  • Overhead Management
  • Obedience Officer, and Assistant Obedience Officer
  • Assistant Class Instructor

Lexington Kennel Club, since 1989 – 2000

  • Member
  • Puppy Match Show Chairman
  • Obedience Chairman
  • Trophy Chairman

Awards

  • The awards and Commendations that I have received include but are not limited to the following:
  • The awards and Commendations that I have received include but are not limited to the following:

2017 Awards & Letters

  • Recognized as an Ambassador by the International Association of Canine Professionals

2015 Awards & Letters

  • Veterinary Health Care Team of Arizona, November 2015 “MVP Award” in recognition of
  • Exemplary and Valuable Contributions as a Distinguished Leader, Director and an Officer
  • Thank you Letter from the Barona Indian Tribe and Gray & Gray Investigations for the Elijah “Running Bear” Diaz Search

2013 Letters of Appreciation

  • La Plata County Sheriff’s Office – Redwine Search
  • Mike Histand – search for his son, Brian Histand
  • Susan Lakoff – Search for her missing son, Timothy Waugaman
  • Salinas Family – for our efforts in assisting with the Adrienne Salinas search
  • Culolias Family – four our efforts in assisting with the Jack Culolias search

American Kennel Club, 2012 ACE Awards
Keahi, one of the SAR dogs that I handler was nominated by several individuals and selected as the AKC ACE Award Winner for 2012 Search and Rescue Dog of the Year.

American Kennel Club, 2011 ACE Awards
Keahi, one of the SAR dogs that I handle was nominated by Barb Mair, from Chicago, Illinois for this prestigious award for her exemplary efforts in SAR and as a Therapy Dog to not only people but to other dogs.

American Kennel Club, 2011 ACE Awards
Keahi, one of the SAR dogs that I handle was nominated by Kelly Snyder, a Private Investigator from Arizona for this prestigious award for her exemplary efforts in SAR on the many cases that we have worked for this investigator.

American Kennel Club, 2011 ACE Awards
Keahi, one of the SAR dogs that I handle was nominated by Leaigh Hearon, a Private Investigator from Washingon State for this prestigious award for her exemplary efforts in SAR and in particular a high profile Murder Case in Anacortes, Washington

2012 Letters of Appreciation

  • Colorado Springs PD in regards to Deborah Herifort
  • Family of Deborah Heriford

2010 Letters of Appreciation

  • Leigh Hearon for efforts in regards to the search for Mark Stover
  • Multiple Investigators and Family of Lorene Bardy
  • Family of Lindsay Baum
  • RCMP & Family of Maddie Scott

Veterinary Health Care Team of Arizona May 2009
Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT, Presidents Award for Outstanding Leadership, Dedication and Commitment to the Veterinary Profession

Letters of Appreciation from The Turner & McCaffrey Families
Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT and Keahi for their exemplary efforts in managing and searching in the Hugh Turner search for Mesa Police Departments Missing Persons Unit.

Arizona Veterinary Medical Profession: 2008-2009
AZVMA – My search dog Chance was named as Arizona’s Inductee into the Pet Hall of Fame, October 2006 at the Wild West Veterinary Conference in Reno, Nevada

Veterinary Health Care Team of Arizona May 2006:
Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT, Award for contributions to the association and service to the Veterinary Medical Profession

Shelton Family: 2004
Letter of Appreciation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT for my assistance with the Joan Shelton Search in the Santa Catalina Mountains on May 1, 2004

Del Monte Fresh Produce:
Multiple Letters of appreciation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT and Remington for their assistance with the Pedro Corzo Search, Jan, 11, 2004

White Mountain Indian Tribal Council:
Letter of Appreciation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT, Remington and Chance for their assistance with the Rupert Thompson Search September 27-2002

American Red Cross – Grand Canyon Chapter:

  • Outstanding Service to the Community, 2002
  • Letter of Commendation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT for Outstanding Service to the Community and for her efforts in response to the Rodeo-Chediski Wildfire Disaster, 2002
  • 2002 Certificate of Appreciation, American Red Cross, Arizona Rocks Convention Volunteer
  • 2002 Certificate of Appreciation, American Red Cross, Northeast AZ Wildfires

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

  • Letter of appreciation for their assistance with the multiple Mikelle Biggs searches that have occurred from March 31, 2001 through March 17, 2003
  • 2002 – Human Remains Detection Dog Training – SAR Dog Foundry & American Detector Dogs
  • Letter of appreciation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT, Sheik and Remington for their assistance with the “Coolidge Incident” November 27, 2000

Grand Canyon National Park Service:
Letter of appreciation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT and Sheik for their assistance with the Phantom Creek Flash Flood September 13, 1997 through September 16, 1997

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Outstanding Service to the Community, 1996
  • Outstanding Service to the Community, 1997

Maricopa Association of Rescue K-9′s, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Dept.:

  • Certificate of Achievement to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Sheik (SAR K-9) for Outstanding Service to the Community, 1997
  • Certificate of Achievement to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Remington (SAR K-9) for Outstanding Service to the Community, 1997
  • “Nose of the Desert Award” presented to Sheik & Remington

Coconino County Sheriff’s Department:
Letter of Commendation for Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Sheik for the Antelope Canyon Incident, 1997

Office of Emergency Services, Group III, Arizona Wing, Civil Air Patrol:
Letter of Commendation for Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Sheik for their presentation and demonstration of The use SAR K-9′s in a Missing Person Incident, 1997

Samaritan Health Systems:
Letter of Commendation to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Sheik for their presentation and demonstration of SAR K-9′s, 1996, 1997

City of Phoenix Police Department:
Letter of Commendation for Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Sheik for the Brad Hanson Incident, 1995

Kentucky Search Dog Association:
Award for Outstanding Service to The Kentucky Search Dog Association, 1993

Victoria Dog Obedience Club:
Award to Kristi Smith, CVT, CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT & Sheik (SAR K-9) for their “Special Efforts in Search and Rescue”, 1992

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