American Patriot K9 Training

Matthew T. Zarrella (401) 226-1631

Matthew Zarrella with his K-9's Eva & Maximus


About Matthew Zarrella

Matthew Zarrella has been involved in Search & Rescue K-9 training since 1991.  He served as a K-9 trainer for the Rhode Island State Police and developed their first search and rescue K-9 program.  During Matt's tenure as a Rhode Island State Trooper, he handled a total of (6) canines in various scent disciplines to include human remains detection, wilderness, disaster live, disaster cadaver, water search, trailing, explosives detection and article Search.  Matthew has also trained numerous canines in the aformentioned search and rescue disciplines for law enforcement, the fire service and volunteers as well.   Matthew created the first K-9 Search & Rescue standards for the Rhode Island State Police and the State of Rhode Island.   

Matthew conducts schools, seminars and workshops and consults with law enforcement agencies on missing persons cases.  Matthew has conducted missing person's searches for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the United States Peace Corps, and the United States Military.  Matthew has traveled to different parts of the world to work on cases with his canines looking for missing persons and military personnel still listed as missing in action.  He has conducted searches in various parts of the United States and in the countries of Vietnam, Columbia, and Bolivia.

Matthew started Task Force II, Rhode Island's first all volunteer Search & Rescue Dog Program.  TF-2 is a team of teams consisting of various   K-9 and ground search teams whose mission is to assist the Rhode Island State Police on missing persons searches state-wide. 

Matthew forumlated the first K-9 Disaster Search Team for Rhode Island's Urban Search and Rescue team.  Many of these K-9 teams went on to become certified in various levels of proficiency to include Light Disaster, Type II and Type I Live and Human Remains Detection Disaster Search.

Matthew is a volunteer search manager for the State of Rhode Island and a Master Trainer for the International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA) in Search & Rescue.  Matt also trained and handled an explosive detection canine for the last two years of his canine career.  


Matthew and his astonishing career is the subject of a documentary film in progress, entitled RELIANCE.  Please visit the film's website!