Michiana Working Dog Association


Our Members

Jan Harkner-Abbs is the training director for Michiana Working Dog Association.  She has been training in Schutzhund since 1983, dogs in general since 1968 and has titled multiple dogs through Schutzhund 1,2 and 3.  Jan and Jim own and operate a kennel and training grounds on 34 acres.  Jan trains in the area of search and detection work with different types of dogs. Jan is the K9 coordinator and a K9 handler for Orange Twp Fire Department search and rescue team, Executive Director of the Indiana Search and Response Team and the training coordinator of the State of Indiana District 3 SAR K9 team.  She is a special education consultant for the 4 county area.   

Kelly Landers is a search and rescue dog handler and also competes in the sport of schutzhund.  She has titled her first german shepherd to a SAR certification, BH, obedience 1 and tracking 1!  Kelly has just begun training her second pup this year.  Her certified search and accelerant dogs are chocolate labs.  Kelly is a dispatcher for Lagrange County Sheriff Department and a K9 handler for Johnson Twp Fire Department.  Kelly is also the secretary for the Michiana Working Dog Association

Garry Hammer and his wife Pam began training in 2010.  Garry is the handler for Aeros and is training him for search work in human remains detection.  He is a paramedic and deputy coroner in Lagrange and Noble counties. We lost Garry in February.  Rest in peace Garry, we will miss you.

Pam Hammer has a new pup of her own and is training Cyba for schutzhund as well as human remains detection for search and rescue. She is almost ready for BH.  Pam works for the Lagrange County Government offices.

Jim Abbs has been in the sport for 20 years as a helper and retired in 2011.  He owns a cattle dog but does not train in the sport.  We were lucky to have a dedicated helper like Jim for our dogs!  Thank you for all your past work!  Jim is married to Jan and is the Chief Attorney for the Public Defenders Office of Noble County, IN.

 Bre Willison came in for training her dog to track deer for hunters in need of assistance in finding wounded deer.  She became interested in the area of search and rescue and is training to be a back up to the handlers on searches.  Bre also owns and operated Willison Dog Training. With sadness, Bre passed from Cancer in June of 2012.  RIP Bre, we'll miss you.

Amber Taylor is new to the sport of Schutzhund and is learning the basics with her dog Sparrow.

 Laurie and Brad Binz are beginning the sport of schutzhund and are training a German shepherd puppy Diesel.  Brad is also beginning his helper training and has completed his first helper seminar!  Brad also now has Romi who is his new adventure in both Schutzhund and SAR!

Mark and Sara Zimmerman are beginning with their new German Shepherd puppy.  Mark is also beginning his work as a helper and has completed his first seminar.

Gale St. John is a search and rescue handler who handle Border Collies.  in 2013, she certified her first dog, Simon at the national level.  She has two others in training and is very much enjoying the work!

Rebecca Knight is training Helo, her Cattle dog for search and rescue.  This is there first year and they are gaining a lot of experience!

Karen Karrer is a search and rescue handler with many years experience particularly in the trailing of bloodhounds.  She also has a Cattle dog that is crossed trained in live find and HRD.  Karen has certified her dogs at the national level.

Jason Fuhrman is another search and rescue handler who has returned to SAR after a long sabbatical.  He recently state certified his German Shepherd in live find area search.  We look forward to Jason's return to training.

Bruce Bickley is a career firefighter who came to us during a search that he was assisting in.  He expressed an interest in learning about search and rescue and dog training.  He has been handling one of Jan's certified dogs and doing very well!  He serves as a back up support handler as well as a K9 handler for JP if needed.

Ed Ralston is a dispatcher for Steuben County and handles a Bloodhound in Search and Rescue.  He nationally certified Sampson in trailing in 2013.  He's been training with us for 2 years.

Brooke Norton is a the Police Chief in Orland, IN.  She began training with us 3 years ago and Nationally certified her Bloodhound Beck 2 years ago.  Brooke has used Beck in many successful searches and is doing a great job!

Saundra Timperley and Cheyenne came to the team this year.  Cheyenne is a pup who will be learning to search for human remains.  Saundra came to us with strong training as a support person in search and rescue and looks forward to being a K9 handler in SAR. 





MWDA Members



   Karen Karrer and Ellie Mae                       Jan and Bodo         

      and Emma                                        SchH 3, AD, KKL1, IPWDA HRD                  


    Kelly and Crimson                    Garry and Aeros

     BH, OB1, TR 1 HRD/Live Find                    BH, SchH 2, Human Remains Detection            



           Jim  (Helper)                                      Bre and DO-G   




             Amber and Sparrow                 Pam and Cyba        

          Jan and Curse                            Kelly and Cayra



Saundra Timperley and Cheyenne 





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Wednesday, Mar 4 at 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Thursday, Mar 5 at 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Monday, Mar 9 at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Wednesday, Mar 11 at 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM

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