Horse and HoundsWe’ve all heard about the new and wonderfully inventive roles that dogs, especially English Cream Golden Retriever Dogs, are being trained for these days. I came across a story that was a very clever use of a dog’s fabulous ability to smell, and I thought you’d enjoy it also.

The dogs are mainly retrievers, and their names are Viper, Butter, Lancer, and Locket. They work for the Fish and Game Department and they received a thirteen-week training at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Ga. to sniff out smuggled snake skins, ivory, and other illegal animal products. There has been so much in the news about the abusive use of animals, that I thought you would like to hear how retrievers are protecting the lives of rhinos and elephants. Here’s how:

Using dogs will give inspectors a whole new capacity to quickly scan air, rail and ocean cargo, as well as international mail and express delivery packages, declared or not, without the time-consuming need to open each crate, box or parcel.

At United States air hubs in Louisville, KY, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami four handsomely trained dogs are helping to address the increasing trade in body parts of protected species. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official Ed Grace says that some species are being dangerously threatened by rapid growth in global trade and the dogs are their newest solution. “The recent rapid growth in the global trade in protected wildlife is pushing some species perilously close to extinction. The battle to stop wildlife smuggling is one we simply cannot afford to lose, and using dogs and their phenomenal sense of smell to catch smugglers will give us a real leg up in this effort.”

The illegal trafficking in elephant ivory and rhino horn has escalated lately, so much so that the survival of these two animals is seriously threatened. Also, because of budgetary cuts for hiring more Fish and Game Agents, the dogs are a less-expensive option, and frankly, they can out sniff the agents by a margin of 100 to 1 nose. They can complete in minutes what would take the officers hours to inspect.

The dogs seem to enjoy their new role, because to them, it has the appeal of a fabulous scavenger hunt. They get to hop on conveyor belts and crates, and they had to be bigger than beagles. Retrievers and labs were a perfect choice. Wonderfully, most of the dogs were rescues from either an organization or a person who couldn’t keep the dog any longer: a win-win solution.