Amigo is a 501(c)3 non profit volunteer search and rescue team that provides professional resources (including K9s) for searches of lost and missing persons. For example, a hunter who does not return at the scheduled time, an elderly person who walks away, or a lost child.  Our main areas of coverage include Tioga, Broome, Chenango and Delaware Counties in NY State. However, as a member of the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams we often respond to calls from all over NY and sometimes PA.

amigo k9 sar team binghamton ny.jpg

We develop our resources and train our members to complement (not duplicate) the capabilities of law enforcement and fire-rescue agencies in our area. We are available to provide demonstrations of our capabilities and the resources we can provide to any emergency response agency in our main coverage area. In addition to searching for lost persons, our resources are available to assist during disasters or other emergencies as requested.

  • Services provided free of charge to official requesting agencies include:
  • Area Search
  • Human Remains Detection
  • Water Recovery
  • Demonstration of capabilities and resources that can be provided

Additionally, we provide public safety educational programs in Lost Prevention and Wilderness Survival for school and civic groups. We are also available for K9 demonstrations at events in our local area.

for more information contact our assistant director Patti Thompson via email jkthom@epix.net or phone 570-395-3446

Current Officers

  • Kara Schaeffer, Director
  • Patti Thompson, Asst Director
  • Bob Montgomery Information Coordinator/Treasurer


Air Scent Dogschocolate lab k9 sar binghamton ny

Our current canine capability focuses primarily on air scenting. An air scenting dog works by picking up human scent that is primarily airborne (hence the term).

They work off lead, ranging away from their handler, sometimes out of sight looking for scent.  This is ideal in an area of wilderness where few humans are present and one must find anyone in the area. The dog must always be under the handler’s control via verbal commands and hand signals and must possess a strong trained alert to notify the handler of a find. Once the dog finds human scent, they follow it to the source. Once the dog finds the subject, they will return to the handler, give a trained alert (bark, jump, etc.) then do a refind. A refind occurs when an air scenting dog leads the handler back to the subject after giving their trained alert.

K9 Air Scent Standards and Certification Process

Amigo Search and Rescue Dogs

Our team adheres to the NYS Federation’s K9 standards for all K9 team certifications. This means all of our operational, mission ready Air-Scent K9s have successfully passed 5 certification tests.  The first three tests are done by another operational Amigo K9 handler. Theses tests consist of finding someone off the trail, finding someone walking in a 20 acre area and finding someone in a 30 acre heavy brush area.  Once the dogs have proven their skills with these three tests, the dogs are tested by a off team Federation tester  for a 40 acre night test and 100 acre, 2 subject daytime test.

Amigo is a 501(c)3 non profit

Human Remains  Certification consists of testing three different areas that could contain 0-2 sources buried, elevated or on the surface. All Human remains tests are done off team by a Federation tester. Cadaver Only dogs/handlers must complete the advanced  human remains test in order to become operational.  The purpose of these test is to prove that the K9 team can assist in searches for deceased individuals.  Many K9 teams also complete outside testing with organizations such as Eastern Police K9 and IPWADA to demonstrate more advanced HRD skills. We also train and certify for water recovery as well.

Member of the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams


Additionally, the K9 teams can pursue the advanced certification which consists of a scent specific air scent problem where the dog only alerts on the person they were told to find in a 100 acre area.


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