Security Health Plan: Invests in local organization training dogs to provide life-saving services

MARSHFIELD – Time is crucial when locating a missing person. Local agencies and law enforcement rely on available tools and technology, but nothing can replace the invaluable service of a highly trained search and rescue dog.

Based in Eau Claire, a non-profit organization called Bloodhound in Training provides unique services to law enforcement and other public and private agencies across Wisconsin and Minnesota. Established in 2008, the organization trains bloodhounds to assist in search, rescue and recovery missions and volunteers their services when called upon. 

Bloodhounds have characteristics that make them ideal for this type of work. But they require extensive, costly training. With funding from a recent Security Health Plan grant, Bloodhound in Training will work toward providing full training and certification for a bloodhound to serve the community.

An anonymous Marshfield Clinic Health System employee nominated Bloodhound in Training for Security Health Plan’s Employee-Driven Corporate Giving grant. Each month Security Health Plan awards a $1,000 grant to a different charity or organization that is nominated by a Marshfield Clinic Health System employee. Employees are encouraged to nominate organizations making a positive difference in the community.

“Many handler and dog teams train for months and never become certified or utilized,” explained Bloodhound in Training founder Andrew Revelle. “Training is as much for the handler as the dog; it is not a hobby or to be taken lightly. We are not paid for our services and most of the handler’s expenses are out-of-pocket. The greatest payment is helping someone in a time of need.”

Revelle and his team have assisted with 14 searches across Minnesota and Wisconsin, including land and water recovery. They currently have one bloodhound, Bo, in their group and hope to have a second dog begin training in 2023.

Training begins with the dogs at a very young age and they are conditioned to focus despite distractions of weather, terrain and noise. Every dog is unique; some progress quickly and others do not continue training, Revelle explained.

“Bloodhounds are a breed that need a job; they can be stubborn,” he said. “The amount of quality training, time and effort, along with the dog wanting to work, will determine how soon they can be certified. If you keep the training fun for the dog, it will come back for more.” 

The organization’s relationship with local agencies also contributes to their success.

“We work closely with law enforcement when our services are requested,” said Revelle. “Aside from internal training, our organization has trained with a variety of law enforcement K9 handlers and their bloodhounds. We have been very lucky to have retired law enforcement K9 bloodhound handlers that have volunteered as instructors and have worked high-profile cases.”

Bloodhound in Training not only serves Wisconsin and Minnesota; they travel cross-country to volunteer, help instruct and train. Through their wide range of national contacts, they have developed a network of referrals when a quick response is needed.

“We are a small organization, yet strive to provide the best service possible. We are willing to travel almost anywhere to help when a request comes from the proper authorities and funding is available,” explained Revelle.

Although the mission of the organization is providing life-saving search and rescue services, bloodhounds in general hold a special place in their hearts. They offer foster care services for bloodhounds rescued from kill shelters and those in need of new homes. They will rehabilitate and train bloodhounds to reintegrate them into new homes. Some dogs may have potential to be trained for search and rescue work.

“Bloodhounds require a lot of time and patience,” said Becky Nordstrom, vice president and cofounder of Bloodhound in Training. “We connect people to get bloodhounds into homes that are more equipped to care for them. In the future, we hope to continue to foster and rehab bloodhounds that need behavior or health attention.”

The organization is always looking for new volunteers, members and board members to continue their mission. Donations can be made on their website at