SEARCHDOG is the story of Matthew Zarrella, a Rhode Island State Police Sergeant who rehabilitates “unadoptable" shelter dogs and transforms them into Search & Rescue/Recovery Dogs.  We come to know Matthew and his dogs and witness extraordinary moments over four and a half years of real-time searches as he trains troopers and their new canine partners to find missing persons.  

As a child, Matt Zarrella found solace and confidence in his relationships with dogs.   As a teenager, he cared for shelter dogs knowing they were going to be put down.  As an adult, he used that confidence and a sense of duty to help those in need, to succeed as a police officer and ultimately as an internationally-renowned K-9 Search and Rescue/Recovery specialist.  We come to understand Matthew’s motivation to help others and his empathic, methods of searching for missing persons with his dogs.

Ultimately, SEARCHDOG chronicles transformative connections between humans and dogs where the consequences of “trusting a dog” can mean life or death for a missing victim, others where the goal is to provide answers and closure for decades-old tragedies.  With passion and surprising humor – SEARCHDOG reveals rich, productive relationships in which both species learn to trust each other, and rely on each other, in performing their crucial tasks.