For all those who fret obsessively about dogs leaving environmentally damaging messes behind — not that it’s not a valid concern — here’s a story of a dog who’s helping clean up the messes we leave behind.
Sable, a discarded German shepherd mix adopted from an animal shelter, has been trained to sniff out illegal sewer connections, which dump billions of gallons of bacteria-filled water into rivers, lakes and streams each year, leading to closed beaches, contaminating fisheries and costing millions to clean up.
Scott Reynolds adopted Sable with the idea of training him to sniff out illegal sewer connections. Now, after a year of work in Michigan’s Kawkawlin River, Sable has earned enough praise to be top dog at Environmental Canine Services, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“In the mornings, he runs to the back room and looks to the hook where his harness is, as if to say, ‘Do we get to do this today?’ ” Reynolds said. “He loves to work.”
Sable is scheduled to do his thing next in Santa Barbara, California, then head to Maine next spring to help track pollution that has closed shellfish beds along the coast.
Sable sniffs water in drains and pipes — often buried in deep woods or under fallen trees — to detect illegal sewer connections. He barks when he smells raw sewage.
Sable also has his own website, sablethesniffer.com.
Sable has an 87% accuracy rate measured against lab results, Reynolds says.
Normally, municipalities send human employees to detect illegal sewer connections — a bit of a guessing game, and a process that requires lab tests that can take weeks.
The dog was turned over by owners who mistreated him, said Autumn Russell of Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, near Grand Rapids. “No one had any idea of his potential,” she said.
Reynolds, who has trained other rescued dogs for search and rescue and narcotics detection, spent more than a year training Sable to sniff out waste, ammonia and detergents that signal illegal connections.
(Photo: By Robert Domm, courtesy of Environmental Canine Services)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bacteria, connections, contamination, detection, dog, environment, environmental, environmental canine services, hookups, illegal, michigan, sable, scott reynolds, sewage, sewer, sniff, sniffer, sniffing
A golden retriever rescued as a stray and trained to sniff out bombs for the Mount Holly, N.J., Police Department has died.
Patton, who was 5 years old, died in the vehicle of his handler and partner, Officer Kara McIntosh, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
“We’re investigating every aspect of the case,” said Mount Holly Police Chief Steve Martin.
A spokesman for the New Jersey SPCA said his office was awaiting results of an autopsy performed at the Columbus Animal Hospital. He declined to say whether heat had played a part in the dog’s death. It was unclear how long Patton had been left in the vehicle, or whether McIntosh was working at the time of Patton’s death.
Martin declined to comment on the circumstances leading to the dog’s death.
According to a website dedicated to golden retrievers, Patton was discovered by Mount Holly officers looking for a K-9 dog at the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue’s Golden Gateway, in Lancaster County.
After intensive training, Patton learned to recognize more than 20 scents, and specialized in rooting out shell casings. He became part of a statewide task force under the U.S Department of Homeland Security.
The Trentonian quoted an anonymous source as saying the dog died at an animal hospital after being left in a hot car for an extended period of time.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: autopsy, bomb, car, death, delaware valley golden retriever rescue, died, dog, heat, homeland security, K-9, kara mcintosh, mount holly, new jersey, patton, police, police chief, rescue, rescued, shell casings, sniffer, sniffing, spca, stray, vehicle
A medal bestowed upon a one-time stray named Rip who helped find trapped survivors during the Blitz in London has been sold at auction.
The medal fetched a high bid of $35,700, made on behalf of an anonymous bidder.
Rip, a mutt, was awarded the Dickin Medal after helping find more than 100 victims of air raids.
The medal is named for Maria Dickin, the founder of the veterinary charity PDSA, and has been given since 1943 to animals that had shown “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”.
Rip was left homeless after the Luftwaffe attacked East London, in 1940, and roamed the streets until an air raid warden named King befriended him.
Without any training, he became the service’s first sniffer dog, showing an instant talent for finding victims covered by rubble.
“Despite the dangers, he worked courageously through the crashing and explosions of the bombing raids, braved fire and smoke with apparent disdain, and was completely unfazed by the air-raid sirens that used to strike fear into the hearts of the population,” the Daily Mail reports.
It was partly due to Rip’s performance, that authorities later decided to train dogs formally to trace casualties.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air raids, auction, dog, hero, london, maria dickin, medal, pdsa, rescue, rip, search, sniffer, sold, survivors, world war II