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Steff & Vasco

USCA/WUSV Liaison / Licensed SV/USCA RH Training Director / RH1 & RH2 judge / Translator for USCA/IRO




My career started at British Airways in Frankfurt, Germany back in 1968 working in both passenger service and flight operations. I went on to study at the Sorbonne University in Paris to study French. After 4 years, I returned home, and was immediately hired by Lufthansa German Airlines in Philadelphia. After 22 years working in all departments, I was transferred to Boston as ticket office manager and subsequently then went on to work on Long Island, NY in Customer Relations and the Legal Department. As Lufthansa began outsourcing departments, I was finally transferred to Lufthansa Cargo back in Philadelphia Airport and closed out my career as Supervisor in the Quality Control Center. During my time with Lufthansa, I handled all international flight bookings for our USCA members and SV judges and assisted with the teams competing in Europe.


K9 Background


My journey with my dogs began in 1976 starting at the AKC level, then on to Schutzhund work and now the RH Program.

Anka von Donnerwetter –CD/CDX/SchH1

Lori von Donnerwetter - CD/CDX

Nikki von der Eichenburg -VBH/V2/SchH3/FH

Otti von der Murrtalaue - BH/V1 at the Sieger Show/SchH1/KKL1

Niki von Stefanopeler Tal (Taika) – BH/ V2/RH1-F/RH2-FL-B/RH2-T-A/RH2-L (Alpine Training Course) = Tracking/Area Search/Rubble and Avalanche

Kumiko vom Suentelstein – In RH Training


In 1998 I started the K9 Kuriers, Inc. business in order to facilitate international translations for the SV, USCA, private clients, other sporting dog organizations and ultimately the IRO. I provided training for both private clients and numerous K9 departments as well as facilitating the training of the Delaware State Police K9 Division. I also worked as an instructor of German lessons at West Chester University in PA.




In 2006, I was asked by the SV to translate the then 2006 IRO film pertaining to the RH program. I subsequently went on to translate the official rules for the over 120 IRO member organizations around the world as well as numerous FCI and IRO meetings.


To achieve a deeper insight into the world of SAR, I attended the FUNSAR training at the Connecticut Fire Academy, took the 3 required FEMA ISO courses, took mapping and orienteering courses as well as K9 and human CPR and subsequently attended the SV Academy to become licensed as the certified trainer for the US having completed all levels in all disciplines – tracking/area search/rubble/avalanche/Man-Trailing. I also worked with a local group in order to gain a greater insight into SAR work in general.




In 2017 a group of 5 people formed the RH K9 Rangers club to facilitate promoting the RH program under the sport platform for USCA. Many of our members never titled a dog, yet came to see the incredible versatility of our working dogs. The program expanded from NH-NY-NJ-VA-NC-TX-AZ-CA-ID-WI with more States following by hosting workshops, so I can share with them the incredible abilities our dogs have to be both independent and under control at the same time. It is an honor to be both the President of our club as well as the training director.


My vision is to continue to promote the

RH platform for USCA

And to display our accomplishments on the

world stage.

Alan & Kota

I graduated from North Carolina State Univ with a BS in Animal & Poultry Science and then onto earning a BS in Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science. I spent 40 years in the retail pharmacy and am now retired. I have owned dogs all of my life and Kota is my second to pursue RH work.

My first dog, Odiy, was able to obtain her BH, RH-1, RH2A, FLN and RH2B-FLN titles. She showed me how far a complete novice could go doing RH work and what team work meant. Like people, each dog has its own personality and may require different methods and techniques for learning.

With a tremendous drive to work, Kota displays the will & determination for this type of work. She is very eager and is teaching me  a most important lesson, PATIENCE!

Jonathan & Ginger

My career path took me at first to the Oxford Computer Co.. I had a brief interlude working  as a server for a dining hall and then moved on to be a driver for White Horse Village. My primary career for over 20 years is as a 911 county dispatcher. I also volunteer at the Newtown Square Fire Co and am an emergency medical technician for over 10 years.

As to my dog career – I have had 4 beautiful companions Butch – GSD – a dog I had when I was just a baby and who saved my life from a trash can fire in the kitchen. Sheehan – an Irish Setter – while he was only with us for three short years, we loved his boundless energy. He ran off only to be taken into custody by the SPCA, never to be seen again. Quite heartbreaking for a young child. Sheba – GSD – got her at 6 months and did basic obedience with her just

from books I read. We were steadfast friends and my heart was ripped apart when we had to put her down at 17.5 years of age. Courtney - GSD – got her at yes 8 years of age. She came with obedience built in. Her only quirk was not wanting to cross a shiny floor, but will a little encouragement and lots of patience, we conquered her fears.

Dave & Ruger

As a classically trained musician, I spent my early years studying and performing classical orchestral trombone across the east coast and in Chicago. I was privileged to have studied with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Later, I found myself working in the high technology area where I became an expert in introducing new business class products into global marketplaces. I’ve been enriched by getting to know and work with colleagues from the UK, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the AsiaPac regions.

Ruger is my third German Shepherd, but this is the first time I’ve endeavored to formally train in a world class Search and Rescue organization. It is my intent to challenge myself and Ruger in SAR, with our first goal of passing the obedience test. It has been so rewarding to learn more about Ruger’s potential and to enjoy our growing communication and relationship. I am so excited to see where our SAR adventure will lead!

Sarah & Lux

Since 2015 I have been hands-on with dogs and learning how to reach my goal  of being a professional dog trainer with a focus on working dogs. I got my  start with the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at their Canine Handler Academy as a student, and a counselor. There I learned how to properly train, handle, and work with working dogs such as SAR (Live Find and Human Remains), Single and Dual Purpose Law Enforcement, Scent Detection (Narcotics, Explosives, Ovarian Cancer, Diabetic Alert), and more. After that, I began focusing on Service Dog training through volunteer work, classes, and assisting in the training of those raising their own Service Dogs. The past few years for me have included working as a dog trainer, enrolling in training courses, workshops, seminars, and taking internships and other similar jobs. Lux is my first true working dog and shows great potential for Search and & Rescue. We also are venturing into the dog sport world with an interest in Scent Work, FastCAT, Dock Diving, Barn Hunt, and Rally. I'm excited to dive deeper into the world of working and sporting dogs!

Brittany & Vader

Brittany Stivale graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 2014 with a major in business and a minor in economics.  She has been working in the wealth management industry as a Financial Advisor since 2014.  Currently, Brittany works at Merrill Lynch and specializes in retirement planning and portfolio management.

Vader Von Bergerhaus, born April 11, 2022, is a blac
k and red West German longhaired GSD.  His parents are Harley Von Bergerhaus (dam) and Reflexion Von Santamar (sire). Vader is involved in USCA with K9 Rangers in Newtown Square, PA, and AKC Philadelphia Training Club in Bryn Mawr, PA.  He will be testing for his BH-1 in October 2022.

Dean & Ruger

When Dean isn’t running his small business building electrical control panels, he and his wife Kim enjoy spending time with their dog Ruger. Having some experience over the years with shepherds, Ruger is their first dog to be introduced to search and rescue training. They enjoy the weekly training sessions which prove constant challenging drills for Ruger both physically and mentally. The experience of observing your dog learning is an awesome and rewarding experience for all involved.

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