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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

20 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.

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 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!!!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've seen several demos of these dogs at work with their handlers. They obviously LOVE what they do, and work so hard to please - that is, to accomplish the tasks the team sets out to do. Because then they get to play! Of course, these are are not your average dogs; they are in top physical shape, at ideal weight, groomed meticulously, full of stamina. They are helping to gather vast amounts of data to help scientists learn how multiple factors are affecting wildlife in their natural habitat, without intruding on the wild animals themselves. And I love the fact they are placed in a loving, screened home at the end of their scat-detection career.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There is really no limit to what these dogs can do. The research that comes from the work of dog and human is so amazing. It's wonderful to see these dogs get a second chance...especially when that chance brings so much to the community and the world at large!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Anytime an animal can be rescued from the shelter is a great thing, but the things they train these dogs to do is truly amazing.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This incredible group utilizes canines from animal shelters to complete non-invasive population studies for various forms of wildlife. The talent of not only the canines but the people involved with the program is extroidinary. I was completely amazed the first time I witnessed the tracking and sorting capabilities of these animals. Who would have every thought you could use a dog to help track a killer whale?

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The reviewers who have posted ahead of me have already pointed out the fabulous work the Conservation Canines Program does. I've been lucky enough to see these guys in action training to detect scat, and it is truly incredible how efficiently they can detect even the smallest scent. It's inspiring to see Sam Wasser describe the value derived from the samples they locate and the origins of the idea he pioneered (see video).

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm so excited about this nonprofit. What a great concept - Save shelter dogs and save endangered and threatened animals! Providing a non-invasive way to monitor animals around the world is an awesome way to gather data on a number of species. This can go along way for the institutions that need to update a species' management plan to insure their health. And then to save dogs that are unwanted and scheduled for death, giving them a purpose and a job? It warms my heart. How satisfying this must be for the humans to know they've given a dog a second chance and then watching them blossom after training.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Conservation Canines truly saves lives not just by helping the wildlife but by saving canines from euthanasia. The staff at Conservation Canines saved a dog named Pips and gave him a fabulous job and life. Pips was a dog that could not be a house pet because he had OCD so bad,Conservation Canines took that OCD and turned Pips into a fabulous scat detection dog and truly saved his life. The work they do to help with wildlife conservation is amazing and they are an outstanding group of dedicated people.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

During October 2011, I sought out help from the folks at C-K9s at UW and was so happy with the help I've recieved. Since then and with their advice, I've been training my own scat detection dog. Everyone I've spoken to has been welcoming, friendly, informative, and generous. Plus, you can tell that they all love their jobs, and are passionate about spreading the knowledge about this really great non-invasive sampling method for animal scat. I can't thank them enough!