The IBBRA would like to welcome Kay McDonald and Bed Bug Detection K9s as a Founding Member of the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA).
Dogs trained for scent are just that, trained for scent, but a working “team” is both the dog and the handler together. The importance of good handling is that it keeps the dogs on cue and working at high efficiency. False positives are not an option with this team!
Kay McDonald isn’t just a dog handler. She is a woman with vision, care and a great big heart. As Vice President and Canine Training Director for Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit (www.mark9.us) she expressed to me how minutes in a search can mean the difference in life or death for someone lost or injured or trapped. These teams are crucial in the rapid location of someone lost to save their lives and each of their dedicated teams consist of professional volunteers who donate thousands of hours to train their dogs for the sole purpose of helping others in times of need.
Both of Kay’s search and rescue (SAR) dogs have the highest level of certification for their chosen training through the Massachusetts Search and Rescue Dog Federation (www.MASSARDF.org) and Crime Scene work through the International Police Work Dog Association. Her live find dog searches for live missing persons and her cadaver dog searches for expired people.
Just recently, her 7-year-old Border Collie Rio passed an advanced 160-acre certification test, finding the hidden person in just three hours. Her cadaver dog is Poppy, is a 5-year-old Border Collie/Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Poppy was initially bred for flyball, but now works on century-old cold cases as well as fresh.
Few bed bug detection handlers have such professional versatility as Kay. Kay is a highly experienced, multifaceted trainer/handler that has been instructing dogs in high-level activities for over 20 years. From agility sports, animal wrangling for films, flyball competitions, rescue and recovery work; she has now joined the world of bed bug detection.
During my interview with Kay, you can feel her passion about rescue work and equally with bed bug detection. “Finding bed bugs early changes the game for people. It can help prevent a serious outlay of money for long-term infestations. These people need help, she explained to me, and I’m here to do just that”. She’s focused and committed to helping people.
A dog “team” is only as good as the handler, says Kay. You can have a highly trained dog, but if the handler doesn’t know what they’re doing you can miss bed bugs or have false alerts. Accuracy and taking my time is number one priority for me. We sweep the room with great detail so we don’t miss anything. I may take longer than other teams but if there are bed bugs, we will find them.
Kay trained her own bed bug detection dog Spice, and certified as a team through the IBBMA Integrated Bed Bug Management Association (www.IBBMA.org). Kay is also an evaluator for both MASSARDF and for IBBMA. She conducts working, detection dog training sessions in narcotics, explosives (vapor wake), human remains, live find and nose work. Her long-term goals and intentions are to help other bed bug detection handlers perfect their skills and become the best in their field.
When she and her dogs are not working, they enjoy playing flyball and compete on the Bay State Bandits Flyball Team. Let’s all reach out and welcome Kay and Spice aboard!
Bed Bug Detection K9s is located in Pepperell, MA right outside of Boston and you can reach Kay at Bed Bug Detection K9s (http://www.bedbugdetectionk9s.com)