Bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers are one of our most reliable defenses against hidden explosive devices. These highly trained canines and handlers help keep our airports, borders and cities safe. I recently had the honor of talking with Officer Armando Cruz of the Denver Police Department Explosive Detection Canine Unit. Officer Cruz and his dog, Masc, are both skilled in the art of bomb sniffing – well, Masc does the sniffing – and Officer Cruz and Masc are stationed at the Denver International Airport along with seven other canine teams. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor this Explosive Detection Canine Unit through its Special Achievers program.
The DPD K-9 unit has three Labs, four German Shepherds and one Belgian Malinois. Along with their duties at the Denver airport, they also respond to calls in the Denver area and other jurisdictions when asked. The mission of the DPD Explosive Detection Canine Unit is to detect and prevent criminals from being able to use explosive devices by finding them before they can cause damage or injuries. Established in 1972, the dog teams are a proven and reliable balance to the DPD’s counter-sabotage program, and they help prevent terrorist attacks.
In 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted their first wish, to a 7-year-old boy undergoing treatment for leukemia. As of this writing, the renowned charity has granted more than 205,000 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Recently, an extraordinary therapy dog in the CANIDAE Special Achievers program helped the foundation add one more memorable wish to that impressive number.
Doc-Barker is a two-year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever who is a registered therapy dog through Delta Society, an AKC Canine Good Citizen, and a mobility service dog for his owner, Sherry Buchbinder. Doc-Barker is also a canine ambassador for Wishes Forever, an endowment campaign through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Doc-Barker’s duties as canine ambassador include promoting the Wishes Forever endowment campaign at fundraising and community events, visiting “wish” children in hospitals, being a Grand Marshall or “celebrity guest” at pet expos, and promoting the positive impact of therapy and service dogs. Oh yes – and Doc-Barker is also a wish granter!
Sherry is a volunteer, speaker and wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sherry’s 13-year-old nephew, Grant, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 2008. What Grant wanted more than anything in the world was to hold the leash of a specially trained dog like Doc-Barker. As much as she wanted to say “yes” to his request, Sherry regrettably had to say no, because being responsible for a registered service and therapy dog like Doc-Barker requires training and a title.
Some dogs are just naturals at searching for people who have become lost in the wilderness or buried under rubble or snow. In London during WW II, dogs that had never been trained in search and rescue (SAR) found people buried in debris after bombing raids destroyed their city. Dogs have been by our side for centuries helping us locate those in need. However, along with proper training, there are specific qualities a good SAR dog needs to reliably aid his human handler. Like people, some dogs aren’t suited for rescue work.
Last year, Suzanne Alicie introduced us to Scout, an avalanche rescue dog in the CANIDAE Special Achievers program. Like all search and rescue dogs, Scout has the training and qualities needed to locate his victims. Scout is a purebred Chocolate Labrador retriever, but a good search and rescue dog can be any breed – purebred or mixed breed. The pedigree of a dog isn’t important, but their character is.
When I first wrote about Surf Dog Ricochet early last year, I knew she was incredibly special and destined to do great work during her lifetime. CANIDAE knew it too, because not long after that article ran, they honored Ricochet with a coveted spot in their Special Achievers program. CANIDAE created this sponsorship program as a way to support exemplary pets and their owners, and Ricochet and her amazing “Mom” Judy, certainly qualify.
What makes these two so extraordinary in my eyes is not that Ricochet can surf (which is admittedly very cool) and that Judy found a unique way to use her dog’s talent and pawsome personality to help others. It’s not even that Surf Dog Ricochet has become a famous fundraising “Super Dog” who supports a variety of worthwhile causes for humans and animals alike, or that Ricochet received the AKC Award for Canine Excellence last year, a national award given to only five dogs every year.
Don’t get me wrong. All of those are inspiring accomplishments, and Ricochet and Judy deserve to be commended for all of the wonderful work they do. But what makes these two so special in my eyes is something not everyone has – the right attitude. Despite the disappointments, setbacks and challenges they encounter, Surf Dog Ricochet and Judy display great courage, heart, hopefulness, and a positive CAN DO attitude unlike any I’ve ever seen. And they never miss an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Imagine what this world would be like, if everyone could embrace this philosophy!
As pet owners we all think our own animals are wonderful and even heroic critters. After all, they save us from being lonely; they provide exercise and companionship, comfort and entertainment. But there are some pets that are a step above when it comes to loving and caring for their families and even strangers.
There are dogs that are trained as therapy animals and do an amazing job of being heroes for the people they encounter. CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods sponsors many heroic pets through their Special Achievers program, including Therapy Dogs Stitch, Riley, Sophie, Dexter, Barker and Sadie; Avalanche Rescue Dog Scout; and Surf Dog Ricochet, the SURFice dog who raises funds and awareness for a variety of human and animal causes. The people of CANIDAE feel that these wonderful dogs deserve some recognition, which is why we make a point to share their stories here.
People who love pets can’t imagine having to live without the comfort of a furry back to stroke or a purring foot warmer. However, as responsible pet owners age they may have to face the fact that they can no longer live alone and must move to a nursing home. Because there are so many people with different ailments and afflictions in a nursing home, more than likely the person won’t be able to take their beloved pets. New residents in a nursing home may experience depression due to the changes in their life and the loss of their pets.
Just imagine raising a puppy and providing it with wonderful care, attention and all the best in natural pet food like CANIDAE for years and then finding out that you are unable to care for him anymore. You are going to be moving to an assisted living facility and have to give up your precious pet to another family. It’s heartbreaking.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.