Bay Area Recovery Canines (BARC) is a volunteer canine search and recovery organization dedicated to providing agencies with with highly trained canines and handlers to assist in the recovery of missing persons.


Dog’s World 2008

IDog's World:
A tribute to search, rescue dogs

By PEGGY JOHNSON, For The Capital

Published January 30, 2008

Let me introduce you to a remarkable lady, Heather Roche, who trains her dogs for search and rescue work. She has three dogs, Alley and Red, Labrador retrievers, and Raven, a Malinois.

Alley has received quite a bit of attention for the work she has done over the years. She and Red worked at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 for a few weeks, and also down at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Alley is one of 15 dogs featured in Marilyn Jeffers Walton's new book, "Badge On My Collar: A Chronicle of Courageous Canines."

Alley's chapter tells stories from past searches from the Pentagon to a buried child, to working with archaeologists, to the space shuttle mission, to many other searches, where Alley responded to help find those who were missing. In a recent search at a fire site, a firefighter who was watching Alley search remarked, "That dog doesn't even need to be told what to do!"

Alley and Red were also responsible for helping to find the body of the pilot whose helicopter crashed in the Potomac. The dogs discovered his watery grave, and I am sure helped to bring closure to his family.

Red is shown climbing down the ladder at the police training grounds, during WRAL's news story on IPWDA Nationals 2007, held in Fayettesville, N.C.

The September 2007 issue of Dog Fancy magazine features Red as one of three Hero Dogs in the article, "Everyday Heroes: Meet 3 Brave Dogs Who Make a Difference," by Cherie Langlois.

The story focused on Red's work after Katrina, as well as her search successes, complete with photos.

The Malinois, Raven, is fairly new to Heather and is being trained for search and rescue.

Heather says Raven has recently qualified as a search and rescue dog, and has been fun to watch as she goes about her work.

The dogs must be kept busy, interested and attentive, so continuous training is a must, even for those more advanced dogs like Alley. In the spring 2007 International Police Work Dog Association Newsletter, Heather and her canines, Red and Alley, were recognized for their help in locating a missing child in Pennsylvania.

Bay Area Recovery Canines, Inc. is a search and recovery team used by authorities in human remains detection and recovery efforts. Canines are excellent tools to assist law enforcement in locating missing persons. They bring their skills and experience to aid their efforts in a confidential and professional manner. The members are experienced handlers, coming from the wilderness and FEMA search and rescue community, who also specialize in working cadaver dogs. BARC has responded to hundreds of missing person searches in the eastern U.S. and throughout the country for their specialized advanced recovery skills to work missions, such as cold cases or technically difficult scenes, and for national tragedies.

Services are free to authorized agencies. BARC trains to high standards to ensure the best is given to those families who are missing their loved ones.

BARC is a 501 (c)(3) volunteer organization which receives tax-deductible donations from individuals, organizations and corporations, to support fielding qualified dogs and handlers for search and rescue or recovery missions. BARC does not receive any government or agency funding. All training and misson repsonses are done at the expense of the handlers.

If you can find it in your hearts to send a contrbution to BARC, you know it will be greatly appreciated. Send your contributions to: Bay Area Recovery Canines Inc., c/o Heather Roche, 2675 Claibourne Road, Annapolis, MD 21403. I intend to do just that. These wonderful dogs and handlers need our support. Thank you, Heather, for being a good neighbor and for those wonderful search and rescue dogs of yours.