As conservation detection dog practitioners, Working Dogs for Conservation (WDC) knows that our special canine partners are literally one in a thousand. Meanwhile, dogs that are “too much dog” for most may end up in shelters where it can be extremely hard to find them a capable home. If only those who need these rare “breeds” could more readily connect with those that are trying to find them a home. Enter: Rescues 2the Rescue. The name honors the journey of a dog, once in need of rescue himself, now engaged in the protection of some of the world’s most imperiled species and wild places. The implication is broad enough to expand to other types of detection dogs who are performing heroic feats like finding lost people, searching disaster areas, and keeping public spaces free from explosives.
Aside from its commitment to wildlife conservation, WDC aims to help domestic dogs find satisfying lives and homes doing something they love. But WDC needed help; we need to broaden the network of trainers who are searching for these types of dogs, and give shelters a way of advertising when these dogs arrive in their facilities, so that as many dogs as possible could find their way from shelter to the working homes that keep these special dogs stimulated and fulfilled.
To bring this extra elbow grease to the cause, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) joined us as project partners. As one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the world, and with an impressive track record of advocating for domestic and wild animals alike, IFAW will broaden the reach of Rescues 2the Rescue.
IFAW conducted a survey of the American public wherein 77% of respondents said they would look more favorably upon detection dog programs that used rescued dogs, over solely using breeder-sourced dogs. This is the third leg of the stool: trainers want these dogs, shelters need homes for them, and the public supports working with dogs who are in need of homes.
Aimee Hurt, co-founder and Director of Operations, Working Dogs for Conservation