Team Biographies

Meet our search and rescue team members and learn more about them.

Cindy Atwood
Region: Southern
Breed: Belgian Shepherd Tervuren, “Ari”
Certifications: Wilderness Air Scent Search. Ari is Cindy’s 3rd SAR dog.

Arin Auger
Region: Southern
MESARD Member Since: 2014
Certifications: Arin is currently serving as a support member of MESARD after working as a flanker for over ten years. She is a fire fighter Advanced EMT with ocean rescue training, and is a licensed Athletic Trainer for the state. She has been a member of Maine Task Force 1 since 2010.

Chad and Jenga

Chad Carleton
Region: Southern
MESARD Member Since: 2014
Breed: Dutch Shepherd
Certifications: Chad’s first dog Jenga is now retired. She was certified in Wilderness Air Scent Search, Article Search and Advanced Land HRD. Chad is currently training a new dog. He also serves as MESARD’s vice president.

John Corriveau & Reese

John Corriveau
Region: Northern
MESARD Member Since: 2005
Certifications: John is currently working his second airscent dog with MESARD.

Elizabeth Fossett and Zena

Elizabeth Fossett
Region: Southern
MESARD Member Since: 2012
Breed: German Shepherd
Certifications: Zena certified in Wilderness Air Scent Search in 2021 and is her 2nd SAR K9. Kobuk retired in 2020 with a lifesaving find in 2014. Elizabeth is currently the team Secretary.

Jay Holweger and Piper

Jay Holweger
Region: Midcoast
MESARD Member Since: 2007
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Certifications: Jay has been a member of Waldo County Search and Rescue since January 2007. His first dog Maddy was certified in Wilderness Air Scent Search and Water Search. Jay is now training his second dog Piper as a trailing dog.

Leslie Howe and Vrijheid's Eron

Leslie Howe
Region: Downeast
MESARD Member Since: 2004
Breed: Dutch Shepherd
Vrjheid Uerly is her third SAR dog and is certified in Wilderness Air Scent, Wilderness HRD and IPWDA Land HRD. Leslie is MESARD’s training director.

Pascale Jessup and Maya

Pascale Jessup
Region: Midcoast
MESARD Member Since: 2020
Breed: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Certifications: Pascale started her work in SAR in 2017 while living in Alabama. She is certified as a SARTech II under NASAR and deployed to Florida after Hurricane Michael in 2018 as a flanker. After 1 year of training as a ground searcher and flanker she got her first search K9, Maya, in 2018. Since then, she worked many crime scene cases while in Alabama and moved to Maine in 2019. Maya is IPWDA certified in Advanced Wilderness Land and Crime Scene HRD.

Jake Letendre and Reese

Jake Letendre
Region: Central
MESARD Member Since: 2012
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Certifications: Reese is certified in Wilderness Air Scent. Jake is a Firefighter/EMT for the City of Lewiston. Reese is his first certified SAR canine. They are currently taking a break from SAR work.

Andrew McMullen and Zoey

Andrew McMullen
Region: Central
MESARD Member Since: 2019
Breed: German Shepherd
Zoey is his first search dog and is certified in wilderness air scent.

Phoebe Morrill

Phoebe Morill
Flanker Trainee
MESARD Member Since: 2022
Phoebe has been a veterinary technician for almost two decades, most of which was spent in emergency medicine. Always drawn to helping others, working dogs, and a good challenge.

Will Nichols

William Nichols
Region: Midcoast
MESARD Member Since: 2014
Will joined MESARD as a flanker in 2014 after having been a member of Waldo County Search and Rescue since 2013. He is an active member of his town’s ambulance service and volunteer fire department, and he is a Registered Maine Guide.

Deb Palman and Raven at Baxter

Deborah Palman
Region: Central
MESARD Member Since: Founding Member
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Certifications: Raven is certified in Wilderness Air Scent Search, and Wilderness Human Remains Search. Deb was the K9 Training Coordinator for the Maine Warden Service K9 Team and is one of the founding members of MESARD. Raven is her 6th SAR dog. Before Raven, she trained German Shepherds for SAR and law enforcement work. Deb retired from the Maine Warden Service after 30 years of service as a Maine Game Warden. She is a Master Trainer for the International Police Work Dog Association, and a Maine Criminal Justice Academy certified police K9 trainer.

Kelly Pontbriand with Beck (L) and Drift (R)

Kelly Pontbriand
Region: Downeast
MESARD Member Since: 1987
Breed: Border Collie
Certifications: Kelly started training dogs for search and rescue in 1985. After certifying her first search dog in 1989, she moved out west. As a ranger with the National Park Service, Kelly responded to searches in South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Washington. A move to Acadia National Park in Maine brought Kelly back to MESARD in 2002. Her current search partners are certified trailing dog Drift (right) and air scent dog in-training Beck (left). Kelly is currently serving as MESARD’s president.

Melissa Shea

Melissa Shea
Region: Western
MESARD Member Since: 2014
Certifications: Melissa is a MASAR certified Ground Searcher and serves as a board member of Franklin Search and Rescue. She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR) with extensive rope rescue training and experience as well as a registered Maine Guide. Melissa joined MESARD as a Flanker and assists the team with navigation, communication, and first aid.

Dorothy Smail and Teyah

Dorothy Smail
Region: Southern
MESARD Member Since: 2012
Breed: German Shepherd
Teyah and Dorothy are working toward Wilderness Air Scent Search certification. Dorothy is a registered nurse.

Nichole St. Pierre and Baxter

Nicole St. Pierre
Region: Central
MESARD Member Since: 2018
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Certifications: Baxter is her first search dog and is certified in wilderness airs cent and Advanced Land Human Remains (HR). She is also a a full time firefighter/A-EMT for the City of Bath.

Beth Swartz and Angel

Beth Swartz
Region: Central
MESARD Member Since: 1987
Breed: Rottweiler
Certifications: She is a former MESARD dog handler, having trained and certified two Rottweilers (Willa and Hazel) for Wilderness Air Scent, Water Search, Evidence Search, and Wilderness Human Remains Detection. When her third Rottweiler developed health issues while still early in training, Beth stepped down as a dog handler and she now contributes by providing training support for the team.

Tina Turcotte and Sherlock

Tina Turcotte
Region: Central
MESARD Member Since: 2016
Breed: Bloodhound
Certifications: Sherlock is Tina’s first SAR dog and is certified in Trailing. Tina is in the process of training a young bloodhound to take over for Sherlock when he retires.

Chip Wadsworth and Wren

Chip Wadsworth
Region: Downeast
MESARD Member Since: 1989
Breed: German Shepherd
Certifications: Wren is certified in Wilderness Air Scent Search. Wren is her 3rd SAR dog.

Bob Young and Stevee

Bob Young
Region: Southern
MESARD Member Since: 2015.
Breed: Golden Retriever
Certifications: Stevee is certified in Wilderness Air Scent Search. Bob joined Lincoln County Search and Rescue in 2013 and he maintains a Wilderness First Responder certification. Bob is also MESARD’s treasurer and Chairperson of the Board of Directors.