KANKAKEE — A pair of organizations that train dogs for search and rescue operations are looking for a new home with St. Patrick’s Catholic Church recently deciding to demolish its former school building.
Kankakee Valley K9 Search & Rescue and Ryan K9 have been at the former St. Patrick’s High School building for the last year and a half. It is a division of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office’s emergency response team.
The nonprofit organization specializes in training dogs in man-trailing, scent tracking, evidence recovery and human remains detection. Their dogs are certified through the United States Police Canine Association.
“We are looking for something affordable that has a floor that can be cleaned,” training director Terry Ryan said. “It doesn’t have to be very fancy. As long as it has lights, a bathroom and is warm enough to keep pipes from freezing, we will be fine.”
Ryan has been training dogs for the last 20 years. Although she has a background in finance and insurance, she has been a full-time trainer for the last five years. She is training six dogs daily and 40 on a weekly basis through her business, Ryan K9.
“My kids were young, and I was trying to do something local,” the Bourbonnais resident said. “I had competition dogs at the time, and we were driving so far for training. It was a hobby that turned into a passion.”
The former St. Patrick’s High School building offered a variety of scenarios for dogs Ryan has trained. The three-floor building featured open and enclosed rooms. It had fire escapes, and it had various types of flooring.
“We are really thankful that St. Pat’s let us use their building,” Ryan said. “It was good for our dogs. It’s also good to have something new. We are excited for the future. Hopefully we will be somewhere soon.”
Those who have space available for rent can contact Ryan by calling 815-382-4127.