We didn’t invent the idea of conservation dogs, much and all as we’d have liked to.
What inspired us to pursue this seemingly unusual dream? Other than our overwhelming, innate love of dogs and nature, you mean?
With dogs saving wildlife in New Zealand as early as 1890, there are a few organizations that have paved some of the way for cdi. We are quite picky and want to only learn from the best in the field. These organizations have been a great inspiration to us:
Wagtail UK – Conservation Dogs
Operating to the highest standards in industry since 2003, they are the pioneers in Europe and that is never an easy feat. Training instructor and dog handler Aran Clyne’s enthusiasm and knowledge are both vast and contagious. We hope he is well paid or we might be in touch! He reminds us of Tintin and his dog in that ‘want to pinch your cheeks’ doting grandma kind of way. We had fascinating conversations with Adam Vizard, their Operations Manager as well. Wagtail’s administrative staff are too nice and helpful too write about in a credible way. We wonder if it has anything to do with their location in the stunning country side in North Wales. We felt on holidays when we were there and wonder how anyone gets anything done. We had to get out of there before getting lazy!
Read up on their expertise in detection and conservation dogs at www.wagtailuk.com
Wagtail UK said they’d travel to Ireland upon request, and cdi wouldn’t even charge a Finder’s Fee! These guys are seriously skilled, clearly love their dogs and stick to ethics the way we like it.
Stiftung Schweizerische Schule für Blindenführhunde
That’s German for the ‘Swiss School of Guide Dogs for the Blind Foundation’. We might have mixed up their complicated word order a bit. Impressive title to begin with, but wait until you see them. Typically Swiss, you’ll find state of the art training facilities for working dogs that run like clockwork. The Swiss Guide Dogs for the Blind School (est. 1972) and its associated Autism and Assistance Dog School (est. 2012) near Basel are outstanding examples of dedicated staff, bold vision and impressive results that really do make the world a better place. They seem to have fun days out along the way as well with the clients they serve.
Our dogs improve the world in different areas but we do share many values. Their dogs are winners in meticulous, dependable behavior, being clean and sitting prettily, while our cdi dogs are their crazy, outdoorsy, foreign cousins. The best families need a mix of both! A real pity Switzerland is so insanely expensive and we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. When not together, we look over their website for their news instead.
Conservation Canines are probably the world leader in training detection dog-handler teams. This is who we want to be when we grow up! They have already been working with university scientists for the last 20 years. Conservation dogs aren’t just cool – the scientific evidence backing their work is growing rapidly. Based in Washington, Conservation Canines have provided the world with amazing research results, yet they’re still so modest and nice! They excel at training dogs to find elusive predators, and endangered species that would otherwise be virtually undetectable by humans or technology. These teams are nothing short of heroic, working under harsh and extreme conditions. Why don’t we keep logs on the stove for when you come home, and already put the kettle on? Biscuit anyone?
Working Dogs 4 Conservation
We love what we know about WD4C and they’ve definitely helped us shape cdi’s mission. Based in Montana, they cover the areas that we are keen to tackle for Ireland. Their freakishly talented pack can detect weeds before they break the surface, animals that live below ground, and aquatic organisms invisible to the human eye. They have also been at the forefront fighting wildlife poaching and trafficking. Risky business and not for the faint-hearted. We’ll keep standing here, at a safe distance! Join us in our admiration for them by checking www.wd4c.org
That is so far our inspiration, but our dogs have one too! The canine idol that our dogs would like as a pin-up in their crate is Bazz, the beekeeping dog. This black labrador star lives in Australia and is trained to sniff out a killer disease that wipes out hives. American Foulbrood (AFB) is a serious bee disease that also affects hives in Europe and Ireland. With bee populations dangerously shrinking everywhere, any rescue operation is badly needed, and when detected early, hives can be saved with antibiotics.
Fun fact: Bazz even has his own suit to protect him from stings – and also keep the smitten girl dogs off him!