In Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) operations, canine teams are deployed to find live patients, and save lives. US&R may benefit from increased levels of situational awareness, through information made available through the use of embedded systems attached to the dogs. One of these is the Canine Pose Estimation (CPE) system. There are many challenges faced with such embedded systems including the engineering of such devices for use in disaster environments. Durability and wireless connectivity in areas with materials that inhibit wireless communications, the safety of the dog wearing the devices, and form factor must be accommodated. All of these factors must be weighed without compromising the accuracy of the application and the timely delivery of its data. This paper discusses the adaptive engineering process and how each of the unique challenges of emergency response embedded systems can be defined and overcome through effective design methods.