September 7, 2013
Volunteering for CK9 has been an amazing experience. Working on the Southern Resident Killer Whale project on the San Juan Islands has shown me the powerful ability of a working dog to effectively locate scat in adverse conditions, and how hard work by these dogs and their incredibly talented handlers turns into results that aid conservation biology efforts. The teams are very well educated in the biological, social, and political issues that impact the species-at-risk, and the non-invasive methods and high appeal of the working dogs is a great way to promote and educate the public on recovery efforts and ethically responsible conservation biology. The fact that rescue dogs are given a home and a lifestyle that suits their energy level is an added benefit to an already amazing program. I can attest first-hand to the difference it makes in the lives of the dogs, who live for the reward that follows finding scat and for the chance to play with their handler, who becomes their partner and friend. The work being done by Conservation Canines is important for habitat-scale management of threatened species, and also at the personal level for the canines and biologists that partner to do this intense, high-risk and high-reward work consistently throughout the year.
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