Dave Walker and his team of professional humans and dogs make up an all volunteer, nonprofit Search & Rescue (SAR) group, assisting police agencies at no cost to them. The Search and Rescue Dogs Ontario are members of the Hamilton Police Service, and assist in ground search and rescue operations wherever they are needed. I spoke with Dave recently to learn more about this amazing team that’s sponsored by the CANIDAE Special Achievers Program.
The SAR team is made up of four Dutch Shepherds – Raina, Bliss, Nico and Ace – and four handlers, plus Dave. Several of the dogs were rescued or adopted from homes where they weren’t wanted, and two puppies are in training to replace two retired SAR dogs. Dutch Shepherds (herding dogs from the Netherlands) are used because they have the work ethic of the German Shepherd along with the extremely high drive of the Belgian Malinois. The team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has been with the Hamilton Police since 2004.
I asked Dave how long the team had been feeding CANIDAE to the dogs, and if it made a difference in their health. “Several of our dogs have been on CANIDAE for over 5 years with great results,” he said. “For almost a year now all of our dogs (4 working dogs, 2 puppies and 2 retired dogs) have been switched to CANIDAE after we saw the great overall health and energy level of the dogs that were on it. CANIDAE All Life Stages dog food has proven to be a good food for our SAR Canine teams. As their ages range from puppies to current working dogs (5-7 yrs.) and our retired dogs (10 yrs. old), the All Life Stages has worked very well for us.”
I asked if he thought it helped the SAR dogs do their job and he replied, “The tremendous stress that this work sometimes puts on the dogs because of the terrain, extreme temperatures and the physical endurance they need to do the work, makes CANIDAE a great choice for us. It gives all of our dogs, no matter what age, the required nutrition to remain healthy in this challenging work. CANIDAE food keeps their energy levels at top performance.”
There are many dog lovers out there competing in various different events. Back in 2009, I found one that sparked my interest: weight pulling. This dog sport has been around for a while, although it’s not as popular as conformation, agility, obedience and dock jumping. Weight pulling involves strength and endurance, but it also creates an amazing bond between an owner and their pet!
Most dog owners are unaware of this interesting sport. Any breed of dog can compete or just have a good time with it. From the smallest toy poodle to the biggest Great Dane, each dog has fun and gains confidence and athleticism. It usually involves a dog in a specially designed harness, hooked up to a sled, cart or rail type system. The dog is then given a command that the owner chooses to get the dog to pull forward. Typically, the object being pulled has to be accomplished 16 ft in 60 seconds or less.
When I start training my dogs for this sport, they just wear a harness around. This helps them get accustomed to wearing the harness and the noise of it clinking around. From there, I have attached a milk jug to the D ring on the back with rocks inside. That’s a great way to get noise going on back there, while walking them around on leash. A buckle collar is the only one I train with. It is the only collar approved for competition, and it’s safe. Chokers and other types of training collars to me get in the way or cause too much correction. Remember, it should be something happy for the dog. Any negative feedback will cause a dog to not want to pull.
Dock diving is a popular and inexpensive sport you can enjoy with your dog. The competition is friendly but competitive, and the dogs love every minute of it! At the recent Splash Dogs competition held in Lancaster, OH on August 20 and 21, Team CANIDAE was well represented with talented canine athletes ready to show why they’re top dogs. Tony Reed of Splash Dogs and Terry Cook of Aqua Dogs hosted the event that had handlers and dogs from all over the country eager to hit the dock to show how far their dogs can fly.
The Paws in the Pool competition wasn’t just about having a great time with your dog. The event also raised money to help support local animal shelters and rescue groups in the Fairfield County and surrounding area in Ohio. Animal shelters across the country are having record number of pets surrendered to them with fewer donations to help keep shelters operating. Events like Paws in the Pool help to raise much needed funds for rescue groups and shelters. Dog teams from around the country gathered in Lancaster to give their support to a good cause, have fun and find out who has the top dock diving dog, at least for this competition.
The Paws in the Pool competition was open to all interested dock diving clubs. Several CANIDAE Team members participated and made a great showing. A big congratulations to Dan Jacobs and his Labrador Retriever Kody who placed 2nd in the Pro Division Finals with a score of 20.01 ft. and Brian Johnson and his Chocolate Lab Gunner who placed 3rd with a score of 20.00 ft. Dan and his Labrador Retriever Kasey took top honors in the Senior Division placing 1st with a winning jump of 18.06 ft. Lynn Taylor worked three dogs through the Junior Division placing 3rd, 4th and 6th. Riot, a German Shorthaired Pointer, took 3rd with a score of 12.09 ft.; Champ, a German Shorthaired Pointer, finished 4th with a score of 12.07 ft.; Cajun, a Labrador Retriever, took 6th with a score of 10.06 ft. Way to go Team CANIDAE!
A few months ago, Linda Cole wrote a great article about Ara Gureghian and his dog Spirit, who have been touring the U.S. together (by motorcycle!) for five years. Ara & Spirit’s inspiring story captured our attention, and I’m happy to report they’re now part of the CANIDAE Special Achievers sponsorship program. We asked Ara to write a guest post for us about their travels, and he graciously agreed.
What if the video camera had been rolling 24/7 for these past 5 years full time on the road camping with my buddy Spirit? How about if he would do the commentaries? Goggles and helmet on, sitting in his own sidecar, nice four season tent with four motel nights a month, his CANIDAE dog food twice a day for better health than I could wish even for myself, some serious clowning and loving, and teaching me. Yes, Spirit has taught me the true values and priorities of Life. I have not heard a single complaint. He has not stopped glancing at me every 10 seconds while we ride, has not quit wagging his tail – what more can I ask or deserve from such a companion?
It is a funny thing the unfortunate dog-less are missing out throughout this Life of ours, which all too often is thought of as a rehearsal…but trust me, it is not. One Life to live and what better path than with such a mate when on these present occasions we are of each other’s help. I have had the tragedy of losing my only child, my son Lance, just over 7 years ago. Spirit himself had the misfortune of being badly abused for his first year, and while walking through the shelter, when our eyes crossed 3 days before his due send off to the other side, it was a mutual understanding within that split second look, the one imploring to save the other.
Editor’s note: Emma Zen is the newest canine to be welcomed into the CANIDAE Special Achievers, a sponsorship program created to support exemplary pets and their responsible owners.
How does a dog become a fundraiser? Well, this dog seems to have been born with what it takes. She has a story, a unique trait, and a dream! Emma Zen is a fire survivor; the Labrador Retriever was found running out of the hills near Santiago Canyon in October of 2007. Fire fighters turned the lost old soul into the Orange County Animal Shelter. Three days later, she met her human! Together and inseparable, Emma Zen and Debra Jo Chiapuzio began a long list of training regimens.
Obedience, Agility, Trick, Tracking, CGC, Therapy, Stage & Film, and Service… Emma Zen seemed to be a dog capable of doing it all. Yet it was when she sat in her Harley Davidson Sidecar that she shined! She personally doesn’t act as if this is a unique trait – if you ever saw her you would just think it’s her thing. Trademarked as “the Canine Ambassador for Biker Dogs,” Emma Zen now hosts a yearly Biker Dog Rally in, of all places, South Dakota during Sturgis Rally Week. And with her “why think small” attitude, the biker dog turned all the attention she was receiving into a full size fundraising adventure. Her dream is now a reality; what started as personal social and media attention is now used as a tool for bringing public awareness to household animals and their safety!
Many of you had a lot of fun with the Kitty Cat Trivia Quiz I posted a few weeks ago, so now it’s time for Dog Trivia! I’m making this quiz a wee bit harder, because I know how many devoted dog lovers there are out there, and I think most of you know a lot about dogs. We’ll see!
1. Which dog breed is sometimes referred to as “the Little Lion,” and why? A. Poodle B. Lowchen C. Chow Chow D. Samoyed
2. What does the phrase “three dog night” refer to? A. Dogs fighting B. A pack of wild dogs roaming at night C. A Jazz Band from the 1920s D. The temperature
3. What did psychologist Sigmund Freud’s dog supposedly do? A. Barked at anyone Freud didn’t like B. Saved Freud’s life by alerting him to an intruder C. Attended all of Freud’s therapy sessions D. Nothing – Freud hated dogs and did not own any
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