All About Appalachian Mountain Mantrailing and Rescue – Part 1


In Dunmore, West Virginia, a small nonprofit is making a big impact in the local area and beyond. Appalachian Mountain Mantrailing and Rescue, also known as AMMAR, is all about dogs, particularly bloodhounds. The organization assists local emergency management with missing recovery assistance, also known as mantrailing, serves as an all hound breed rescue and safe haven and educates the public about the bloodhound breed. Co-owner, Sandy Weik, has more.

Ms. Weik says, “We became a 501(c)(3) in November of 2016. We bring bloodhounds in from shelters that people basically throw away. We bring ‘em in. We find homes for ‘em. We ‘re-home’ ‘em, bring ‘em back to health, and if they show potential, we do search and rescue with ‘em. Some go to homes for personal pet reasons. We try to ‘re-home’ them with search and rescue organizations. We actually have four of ‘em that went down to Orange County, Florida and Hillsborough County, Florida to the sheriff’s department. They are now working dogs. They are working for the communities.”

In addition to working two other jobs, Ms. Weik handles AMMAR’s local operations. “Appalachian Mountain Mantrailing and Rescue West Virginia kennels are located in Dunmore, West Virginia,” she continues. “It’s out of our home. I take care of the kennels. It’s just a full-time job, and it’s what I love to do. These dogs are just so awesome. They blow my mind every day of just the different things that they know how to do that you think they don’t how to do, and you tryin’ to teach ‘em, but they show you they can do it. I love to go to trainings. I go out to Indiana once a year, and we learn how to do H.R., which is ‘human remains.’ That is just something to well-round mantrailing with these bloodhounds.

“Every year, Harvest Festival, we go to Green Bank Elementary School. Doug Friel and I go, and we teach the kids on what a bloodhound is, how they act, where they come from, and then we actually have that one child out of the group to go hide, and we have ‘em go find ‘em, and the kids just think this is awesome. They love it! And I try to have training with the group of people around here once a month on search and rescue. We take the dogs out and play hide and seek, and it’s just a blast. We just have fun.”

Sandy and Dave Weik are co-owners of AMMAR, and Ms. Weik explains how the organization began. She says, “At the beginning, I got Oliver, my first bloodhound for [a] Mother’s Day gift. He is now going to be ten years old. We got a female. We bred a litter, and our searches for people to take these dogs from us, ‘cause we were a breeder at that point, we found out how many was out there that people were just throwin’ away. They see ‘em when they’re cute and fluffy and wrinkly, and as they grow up, they get too big for the kids. They get boisterous. Then they get put in to a shelter. They don’t want ‘em anymore and stuff, so, then, we stopped breedin’ for that reason alone, so Dave started lookin’, and we started bringin’ ‘em in. We started findin’ homes for ‘em, and then, once it started snowballin’, we went in to a 501(c)(3), and it’s been pretty good here lately. We’re growing. Dave is up in Maryland now, and he has his own part of the 501(c)(3), which is a division of AMMAR. They do a lot of fostering. I am the only kennel out of this whole thing. We have people that volunteer, bring ‘em in ‘til they find ‘forever homes’ and off they go.”

In Part 2 of this story, we’ll have more on the search and rescue aspect of AMMAR.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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