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Search Dogs Keeping Us Safe

a group of people posing for a picture with a dog

Over the years, the BADGER has benefited from having K9 search dogs who serve to keep everyone safe. Our current dogs, Mika and Dara, have served for 7 and 6 years respectively, and this year we are excited to introduce our two newest K-9 team members, Hans and Greta. Along with their handlers, Dean, Chuck, Steve, and Ian, they make a dynamic team.

The BADGER is thankful for a hardworking and dedicated crew and our K9 team is no exception.

The cargo that is carried by the BADGER, will be searched by our K9 Teams to make sure that everyone is safe. This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers, trailers, luggage, and more. On busy days, they may screen over 300 vehicles and several carts of luggage.

The BADGER K9s were born in Poland and were bred specifically for detection work. They come to us with the partnership we have built with Mid-Michigan Police K9, where the dogs and trainers go through routine training. Dara, Mika, and Greta are all Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mixed. Hans is a Dutch Shepherd.

Recently, the Belgian Malinois breed was highlighted in the movie “Dog” starring Channing Tatum. Historically, the Malinois is a herding dog and has been known as a bona fide protector of farms and families for centuries. The Belgian Malinois was also credited for being a critical part of Seal Team Six in the 2011 raid that took down Osama Bin Laden.

Dutch Shepherds are historically known for protecting farms, herding a variety of animals, and even pulling carts. Proving that they have credible and versatile skillsets makes them suitable for being police dogs, tracking dogs, and guide dogs for the blind. At one time, the breed faced near extinction. However, they have made a comeback and have proven to be an invaluable part of the working dog community.

a person holding a dogFemale
Breed: Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd Mix
DOB: June 10, 2014
Years of Service: 7
Enjoys: Playing ball and working
Favorite Snacks: Carrots and watermelon
Very sweet, affectionate and loves being around people


a brown dog sitting in the grassFemale
Breed: Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd Mix
DOB: October 10, 2015
Years of Service: 6
Enjoys: Playing in the water and playing with her ball
Favorite Snacks: Ice cream and popcorn
She is shy but very affectionate



a dog wearing a hatFemale
Breed: Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd Mix
DOB: December 12, 2020
Years of Service: 1
Enjoys: Snuggles, running, and chew toys
Favorite Snacks: Meat and doggie sundaes
She is very photogenic and enjoys having her photo taken



a dog sitting in the grassMale
Dutch Shepherd
DOB: March 15, 2021
Years of Service: 1
Enjoys: Playing ball and giving “Hans Hugs”
Favorite Snacks: Watermelon and popcorn
He is high energy and very exuberant to work


At the BADGER, we recognize the importance of working dogs and the variety of work they can perform. On April 8th, 2022 we were honored to host a training for Paws With A Cause puppies-in-training onboard. They walked on and around the upper, outer deck of the BADGER to expose the puppies to different surfaces, stairs, and smells. The training included about 50 people and 20 dogs of various training stages. Paws With A Cause is a national organization, headquartered in Wayland, MI, that custom trains assistance dogs. Their dogs are mainly trained to be service dogs for people with debilitating chronic illness or neurological disorders, hearing dogs, seizure response dogs, and dogs for children with autism. Sometimes dogs are better suited for other lines of work including being a part of a facility such as a school, health care facility, residential care, counseling, or senior living facilities. The organization breeds and raises dogs for their program with these specific breeds: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Papillons, and Poodles. For more information about Paws With A Cause, visit their website here:

We are proud of our dogs and their handlers for their service and commitment to keeping us all safe. When you sail on the BADGER, you will first be greeted by one of the dogs and their handlers. Make sure to say hello!

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