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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

CONSERVATION CANINES - University of Washington Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: To distinguish between multiple, concurrent pressures facing wildlife over a large geographic range. The Conservation Canines program addresses this need by combining the precision and efficiency of detection dogs to readily locate wildlife scat samples with the ability to extract a wide variety of genetic and physiological indicators from scat. These indicators provide information about species abundance, distribution, resource use, and physiological health all in relation to the environmental pressure(s) the species is encountering. Scat detection dogs are able to locate samples from multiple species simultaneously across large, remote areas and have a lower bias compared to traditional wildlife detection methods. No other method can acquire such a vast amount of reliable information in so short a time, making this approach incredibly valuable for conservation and management planners.

Results: We've trained our dogs to locate over 35 different species and we are just getting started!

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Kathy295

Client Served

Rating: 5

In northeastern Washington 1,400 K-12 rural underserved students at 11 schools played ball with the CK9s in 2016. After one demonstration a 6th grade girl told her teacher that she now didn't know what kind of scientist she wanted to be. The teacher shared that this is the kind of dilemma that she wants for her students. Scat detection rescued shelter dogs + kids+ real wildlife conservation projects in our backyard + science + GPS technology + career role models = Engaging our future stewards of earth & its critters! The CK9s present acton-filled participatory outreach programs.

Cathleen S.1

Donor

Rating: 5

The UW Conservations Canines program gives me inspiration and fuels my curiosity for the natural world around me. I'm 54, female... had a less than supportive go as a Biology major in college so I gave up and got a Political Science degree. CK9 inspires me every day with the backcountry work that female scientists are conducting. Their informative stories motivate me to continue learning, to foster discussion about our natural world, and to be curious about life around me. Invauable tenets, all. Thank you.

Mariana Z.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Soy de Argentina, No tengo experiencia con ustedes, pero base mi trabajo de seminario para recibirme de tecnica en gestion, manejo y conservacion de la biodiversidad, en la facultad CAECE, realizando un proyecto de perros para la conservación.
Hoy estudio adiestramiento. Espero recibirme y poder llevar adelante el trabajo ya que me parece genial lo que hacen.
Saludos!
Mariana

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines is made up of a small, but hardworking and dedicated staff. I had the opportunity to volunteer for a short time and found that the everyone was very friendly and extremely hardworking. All the dogs were well cared for and excellent at their job. Conservation Canines does a fantastic job at providing biologists with a great way of conducting all kinds of wildlife surveys and giving amazing dogs a much needed job.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines provide an invaluable service to field biologists such as myself. In my experience their use of highly-trained dogs to locate the scat of multiple species at once (with increased accuracy and speed compared with past projects of mine using people alone) ultimately made the project much more economical. The staff were extremely skilled and professional and the dogs were a joy to work with. Their use of rescue dogs makes this program even more worthy of support and I would highly recommend their services to other scientists.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love Conservation Canines! They provide necessary environmental services, and do it well. I look forward to seeing th continue to do an amazing job.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great non-profit. Passionate staff and volunteers. Adorable well-trained dogs. Important work.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines provides a much needed service of non-invasive wildlife sampling. Not only are they helping endangered wildlife across the globe, but they are saving some incredible dogs along the way. On top of all that, they share their journey with kids who may not have been exposed to the outdoors and conservation work very much. The hard work they do is truly making a difference in this world. Keep up the good work!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As conservation biologist, I have always been passionate about protecting wildlife and minimizing human impacts on study species. As a volunteer with Conservation Canines I was able to aid in projects that fulfilled both of these goals all the while working with hard-to-home rescue dogs.

By using high-drive detection dogs to locate scat and other samples, long after a target species has left the area, these folks are able to contribute amazing amounts of detailed data to further the conservation of threatened and endangered species. Currently they are even working to create a genetic map of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammal, to help put a stop to poaching and trade!

As if this weren’t enough Conservation Canines also works hard to provided education outreach to rural schools to expose children to conservation career choices and to broaden their views on protecting the world around them. The layers of great work seem to go on and on! The incredibly passionate people that help with this program, and the dogs, deserve all of the best support and Greatest NonProfit status!

1 Cathy137

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I discovered Conservation Canines through my company Walkapocket LLC. Walkapocket donates back to organizations that rescue dogs and that led me to learning all about the incredible work at Conservation Canines. They were so responsive to Walkapocket, so friendly, as supportive of Walkapocket as they are supportive of their work. I cannot get enough of CC and reading about their endeavors. Thank you Conservation Canines for your devotion to your dogs and to your work!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a professional wildlife biologist and always concerned about the impacts of human activities on wildlife and the environment. But, I think we forget the impacts we biologists cause during our studies! I'm also a volunteer at my local dog and cat rescue and believe every dog deserves a chance.

CK9 is the best of all worlds. They are doing critical research while using non-invasive methods while ALSO rescuing hard-to-home dogs. I mean, does it get better than that? It's win-win-WIN. Saving dogs' lives, saving wildlife, doing sound science. I just can't say enough about how awesome this organization is and how everyone should strive for the triple win they've achieved.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After 7 years of experience in wildlife ecology, one of the biggest problems I see with the way research is conventionally done is the impact scientists themselves have on the wildlife they are trying to conserve. When I found Conservation Canines, I was amazed at their commitment to non-invasive research techniques that produce even better data than more traditional methods. I had the pleasure of volunteering two years in a row, seeing the dogs in action and even doing a little training myself. The dogs consistently blew me away with their skills, even straight out of the shelter almost instantly catching on (with the help of experienced trainers, of course). Not only does Conservation Canines save the dogs themselves, but the dogs help save a huge variety of wildlife species with better, more efficient and less invasive data collection than mere humans are capable of.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program has completely changed my life! The staff and canines at CK9 work around the clock and are the most dedicated crew I have ever gotten to work with. They have devoted their lives to making a difference and they have done some amazing work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit is great for so many reasons. The scat-detection dogs used in their data collection are mostly rescued from animal shelters and pounds where they might have been euthanized otherwise. The method (scat- detection) is non-invasive - it has no harmful effect on the subject animals being studied. It is helping to learn the causes of decline, and the ways to save, endangered or threatened species. At the home facility they even compost the dog poop produced, minimizing impacts on the local landfill and waterways.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines is an incredible non-profit that can achieve environmental goals that others can only begin to imagine. Using scat detection dogs for non-invasive wildlife research has real impacts on saving endangered wildlife worldwide, and it is achieved by hard-work and passion by the CK9-ers. I have had the chance to work as biologist on CK9's southern resident killer whale project and I am consistently impressed with their professionalism and dedication to the field of conservation biology. Handlers interactions with their dogs is inspirational and it is obvious that the dogs love what they do. I have never met happier dogs! Living with these dogs, I can attest that they are difficult for the average owner to keep up with, but it can be incredible to see the dogs given the chance to excel. Conservation Canines is a unique non-profit in its ability to impact environmental change on a global scale, and impact the lives of dogs by giving them a second chance. I cannot recommend this non-profit enough.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines is an incredible non-profit. Every team member is dedicated, hard-working, cares deeply about the Ck9s and the environment. We are all here to make a difference and working the scat detection dogs is a part of that. They are great ambassadors for endangered and threatened species all over the world. Every day this program is out doing their best to help change the world, it's a thrill to be part of it.

jennilouhart

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I started out as an unpaid volunteer 7 years ago and I'm still with this non-profit. It's a job I feel really good about: rescuing shelter dogs, training them to do fieldwork, getting them out there to do something they were born to do, hopefully saving or at least bringing attention to the plight of endangered species around the globe, and making life-long best friends while you're at it, both canine and human ;) What's not to love? This is an amazing organization, truly original in scope.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been so fortunate to work with this non-profit for the last 4.5 years. It has changed my life. I met my two best friends via the program... they happen to be furry, fluffy and have four legs each. Max is a blue-heeler who packs a lot of 'tude and Scooby is a black lab who thinks he's a 70 pound lap puppy. I have traveled the world with them, collecting back data that I hope will aid in wildlife conservation. What's not to love about this nonprofit?! Help us continue to adopt more dogs to conduct critical wildlife surveys. We need your support!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

All the folks I've met that work for Conservation Canines are dedicated to making a difference in the world by way of example. They live a life of working hard, respecting the world around them, and loving & caring for both dogs & humans alike. Leading by example, their work extends beyond wildlife surveys, seeking to affect the world around them in a positive way. They seek to be the change they want to see in the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've met the people and the dogs, both of which are hard working and loving. It's great that they make working dogs out of those who've run out of other options because of their high energy levels. The teams do great research in harsh conditions!

msaurzlioew

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My life changed a year ago when I was accepted to work with Conservation Canines. I've been fortunate enough to work on two projects and meet two of the most loving, hilarious, and furry co-workers. Both dogs that I have had the pleasure of getting to know were out of options before they came to us. To know that this organization not only gives many doggy lives a second chance, but allows them to excel in their field while inspiring others (I'm amazed every day) makes me proud to work for CK9. I can only hope to continue working for this unique non-profit where we will strive to better wildlife conservation efforts on both a local and global scale!

Kelsey5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with Conservation Canines (CK-9) in the field as a summer intern. it was such a great experience to work with such a wonderful organization. The dog handlers are so dedicated and passionate about their work. They will be up until 2am filling in data and making plans so that samples won't be missed the next day. Whether they are working in the blazing sun battling sun burns, or making a trail in 5 feet of snow, they keep up a great attitude. The goals of the projects are all conservation focused and obtain results like no other sampling methods allow for. Everything about CK-9 is admirable from the dogs to the staff and should be supported for future research projects to utilize.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first found out about Conservation Canines over a year ago when I was looking for interesting field jobs. As a field biologist and dog lover this combined two things I loved... conservation work and playing with dogs!! I worked for CK9 this past winter and met and worked with a great pup, Winnie!! It is so great that not only are they doing great work in conservation they are also rescuing some awesome dogs and giving them a home when they otherwise couldn't find one. I hope to continue working with CK9 and my girl Winnie in the future!!

Bénédicte M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a biologist I was lucky enough to work alongside Conservation Canines and was impressed by their professionalism and work ethics. Whether it was getting up at 3am, crawling through honey bushes or working under 86F heat, they always provided a remarkable assistance and lead to find those precious faeces!! They made this survey possible and have opened a world of new possibilities to improve ecological surveys.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A great group of people and dogs, amazing to watch as they work. It's really wonderful how much they can do to advance the research which aids in the preservation of our planet's wildlife, all with little or no interaction with the actual wildlife.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working alongside many of the remarkably dedicated canines and their handlers in the northern Appalachian Mountains and the Canadian Rockies is one of the most memorial experiences of my life. The excitement these dogs project while working in the field is matched only be their exceptionable ability. What better way to help the world's wildlife than a method that has so little interaction with the animals. This is one of the best homes in the world for any dog with a desire to play fetch and be active. My wife and I raised our yellow lab from 4 weeks old until he was almost 4 years old. When we decided he was too hyper to be around our new baby girl, there was no choice in our minds where he would be the happiest. I am immensely proud that my loving and wonderful dog has become a Conservation Canine.

Cheryl52

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conservation canines have worked with us to detect the endangered Pacific pocket mouse and the American badger in San Diego County. They are extremely professional and a pleasure to work with! Very highly recommended.

crdouglass

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the Marketing and Communications Director at the University of Washington, I get to work with Conservation Canines in a unique sort of way. I get to help them tell their story and through this process I get to learn about all the work the dogs are doing to help us better understand what is happening in the natural world. Their work has helped our scientists have a much more thorough understanding of what is happening in a variety of ecosystems. They are able to detect killer whale scat from a mile away, they can smell turtle eggs and lead researchers to hard to find nests, they can detect salamander in New Mexico and they track down the tiniest scat from pocket mice in the Sierra Nevadas. Their sense of smell and tenacity to play with a ball has provided lots of insight into the impact that mankind is having on certain threatened and endangered species around the world. Plus, who doesn't love a cute, furry, happy faced dog?!!! They are definitely one of the most fun aspects of my job and the handlers who work with the dogs are fantastic to work with as well. And, all of this from dogs that were rescued from shelters (many of them from kill shelters). What a life changing experience for these dogs, their handlers and now lots of other animals in our natural world.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Conservation Canines at the University of Washington do amazing work to help scientists better understand the well being of wildlife throughout the world. The really cool thing about this program, is that it uses almost exclusively dogs that are found in shelters. Quite a few of the dogs were rescued from kill shelters and now they are doing a very meaningful job. The dogs detect the scat of a variety of species and the scat is then analyzed in the Center's lab to glean valuable information about wildlife without using invasive tracking and tagging. Through DNA analysis of the scat, scientists are able to learn everything from an animal's diet to its stress level to its reproductive health. The dogs are able to detect scat even in the deepest snow fall, which has proven useful in research done on moose, caribou and wolf in the Alberta Oil Sands. The dogs spend up to six months in the field, depending on research funding and the data required. Before a study begins, dogs train for up to a month to identify a specific animal's scat. The Conservation Canines have sniffed scat on three continents for studies of more than a dozen species including bear, tiger, leopard, jaguar, bobcat, wolf, wolverine, caribou, moose, cougar, badger, lynx, pocket mouse, killer whale, and sea turtle. These dogs need our private support to supplement the dwindling government grants. Private support would enable the Conservation Canines to conduct pilot projects at a reduced cost and demonstrate to prospective clients just what the dogs can do. It is amazing the amount of data that scientists are able to study based on the scat samples. And, the best thing is that wildlife doesn't have to be trapped or tagged to get extremely detailed information.

Donor

Rating: 5

I came across this group while browsing environmental studies run by colleges. It seemed so "duh" to me I couldn't resist learning more about it, and once I did I was near tears at how amazing this program is. This is more than just your typical "support dogs who need homes" non-profit, this is a smart non-profit, set up because there was an objective by the University of Washington that they couldn't fulfill on their own, so they looked for alternatives. This non-profit is a perfect example of the type of thinking we need for the future! Using the resources and systems we already have in place to make improvements in other areas. And what kind of freak doesn't love dogs?

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Not only is the Conservation Canines team providing valuable insight for important research projects around the world, they have given shelter dogs new leases on life! The researchers associated with these projects work tirelessly to get the scat samples and reward the dogs as they do their work. The humans and dogs associated with the Conservation Canines rock!

Eric C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Based on environmental merit alone, Conservation Canines deserves recognition. That said, their use of dogs rescued from shelters adds more substance to an already worthwhile program. A great example of how we should work *with* nature for its benefit.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines (CK9s) is truly an incredible program. In the years that I have known the CK9s, they have traveled to six different countries and throughout the United States to aid scientists studying endangered and threatened species. Their dogs work to detect scat from the Pacific pocket mouse to the Indochinese tiger and the Southern Resident killer whales all for the chance to play ball. CK9s are fantastic ambassadors for the field of conservation biology worldwide and it is always rewarding to see first hand what they working to accomplish.

Judy28

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of watching these handlers and dogs in action. They are all extremely professional. Nothing is more important to the handlers than the well being of the dogs. The dogs are extremely hardworking and happy. They have a wonderful place to live. The work they do is extremely important to our future.

Sue_15

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The rewarding field research done by Conservation Canines is beneficial to wildlife and conservation. The program trains rescued dogs to do non-invasive research with great skill. The staff and dogs are dedicated and impressive in their work.

Bud M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been fortunate to be a part of this organization for the past few years. Prior to coming here, I had no idea what this type of research entailed and all the benefits of it. The great part of Conservation Canines is the non-invasive survey technique coupled with rescuing dogs from local animal shelters. Its great to be able to study endangered/threatened animals knowing you are not harming them in any way. In fact, I rarely ever see whatever animal we are studying, just what it has left behind. But perhaps one of the greatest things is our working companions. Many of our rescued dogs faced being euthanized due to their high energy which made them unsuitable for many homes. These guys make the perfect workers(even thought its all playtime to them) and best friends you can ask for.

Yennifer Hernandez

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hi, I´m a wildlife biologist from Uruguay, South America. The work of Conservation Canines is invaluable, the are the best example of a new era on non-invasive research. Through the use of these conservation dogs, researcher´s can have access to a lot of information about wildlife without even get closer to the study animal. They found scats and other wildlife signs, that are very useful to wildlife studies, specially molecular studies. With one scat and through molecular studies you can know the species, sex, breeding status and a lot more. The dogs find easily these signs and help the researcher to find more samples on less time. I contact researcher´s of these group to get some advice on how apply and train dogs for conservation on my country, and they give me her complete support and help. This is an amazing conservation project that deserves theTop-Rated Green Nonprofit recognition. Thanks by your time!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing program. Enthusiastic dogs and people! The dogs health and well being is definitely the main priority. When they aren't on a project, they have a nice place to stay in Washington where they can rest up or train for the next project. When you watch a dog work to find scat, it is very apparent that they love it. Great research is being done because of these active, motivated dogs that were given a second chance.