With a personality as big as his smile, Jack can be a handful for new faces. Luckily it's that high drive and persistence to play that makes him a rockstar in the field. He is the Jack of all trades, working on studies that require him to check up trees for bats, dig up carcasses hiding in cracks or holes, and even directing handlers towards whale scats from the bow of a boat. His big grin is contagious in the field and erratic tail wag a dead giveaway that he is on a scent. Good luck getting him out of the pond, because you won't find another dog that loves to swim more than this guy.
In 2011, this pup made his way to Conservation Canines from the United Animal Friends. With his striking markings and badger-like strut, he quickly nuzzled his way into head handler Heath's heart. Together, they have traveled around the country contributing to research on some of the toughest conservation questions! One of Pips's favorite projects is the fisher study in central California. With miles of varied terrain to survey and tons of scat to find, Pips loves the freedom and excitement of this research. Pips likes to think of himself as kennel master when he's back at home base! Picking up stray wood chips and helping find missing toys, he keeps things organized and tidy. He likes to jump up on logs around the yard to get the best vantage point.
Sampson first joined Conservation Canines in 2008 from the Seattle Humane Society. An adorable black lab mix, people were shocked that he didn't have a home yet. Unfortunately, he didn't care at all about a potential new home and would much rather stare down the basket of balls and toys that was in the greeting room at the shelter. When handlers from CK9 showed up, they new Sampson had the makings for an awesome working dog! His enthusiasm for playing ball meant he was always eager to get outside and find scat. Sampson is trained on over 30 species of animals, some plants, and environmental toxins! Not only can this adventure dog find scat samples, he can also detect live animals. Sampson's super sniffer has been employed to find garlic mustard, an invasive species of plant, and to find PCB toxins in Seattle! Is there anything this dog can't do? Now-a-days, you're most likely to find Sampson alongside his pals, Julianne and CK9 Casey, in the classroom teaching kids about wildlife research, scatology, and dogs with jobs!
In 2008, Chester joined our family and filled all of our hearts to the brim. Coming from Seattle Humane, we were shocked that such a happy and sweet dog couldn't find a home. Chester's endless energy definitely would have made him a tough house pet, which made him a perfect Conservation Canine! From the wind farms to the Pyrenees, Chester can work on any project with any target species. New handlers get to work with Chester for a few reasons: he is independent, which can be tough, but he's also loving and always excited to get to work, which makes him a great coworker. His enthusiasm is contagious! Chester is still working at 14 years old! He doesn't go in the field as much anymore, so Chester has transitioned to work as an education dog, going into classrooms and teaching kids about wildlife conservation! He just loves all the attention.
Scooby came to Conservation Canines in 2008 at just 2 years old, joining us from the Oregon Humane Society. Scooby was a bit of a challenge for new handlers, who had to think of dozens of ways to get the ball back from him. When he was paired up with his favorite person, Jennifer, their inseparable bond made Scooby comfortable sharing his beloved ball. Scooby is trained on over 30 species and has traveled all over the world! From the frozen mountains of Banff National Park, to the arid and sweltering savanna of Mozambique, Scooby's work has helped to gather information on rare and endangered species. This past spring, Scooby was on a more local study in northeast Washington looking for large carnivores and ended the year doing roadside surveys looking for animal carcasses.
Back in 2012, Captain came to our program wide-eyed and frantic. His owners adored their beloved pup, but knew he required a lot of exercise and time in the outdoors to relieve his stress, so they brought him to us. He quickly showed his abilities to work in any environment and with any handler. From the frozen expanse of Banff National Park to the harsh climate of Turkey, Captain has seen and done it all. His endless energy makes him a tough working dog who can trek for miles and miles without stop. This year alone, Captain worked on three different studies examining cougar populations in three different states. At just eight years old, Captain has many years to come as a detection dog. He brightens everyone's day with his goofy grin and excitement. We're so happy Captain came to join our pack!
Adopted in 2012 from the Prison Pet Partnership, our handlers quickly fell in love with #CK9Winnie. She's silly and wiggly, super smart and super dedicated. In the field, Winnie is highly capable and shows off her skills by walking logs and navigating tricky spots with ease. 2017 was a big year for Winnie! Starting back in January, she left for 11 months of car camping and surveying for a variety of species across the western states. Many of her projects focused on cougars and their activity in New Mexico, Oregon, and California. Winnie also did some work looking for fisher and marten in California. These projects covered a diverse range of habitats and each posed a unique set of challenges. But no challenge was too big for Winnie, who can problem solve out of any situation. Back at the kennel for the first time in 11 months, Winnie is excited for some rest and relaxation. Just kidding! Winnie is still full of energy and always ready to go on a hike or play ball.
Athena is a fun-loving and happy pup who joined our pack at only 1 1/2 years old. Though she's only been with the program a short time, Athena has already had quite the career. On her first project, Athena worked on a wind farm in Illinois looking for bird and bat carcasses. From there, she worked in northeast Washington on a large carnivore study, tracking wolves, bears, cougars, coyotes, bobcats, and mustelids. Even though she was still pretty new to the program, Athena was chosen to travel all the way across the Pacific to Nepal and Vietnam, where she worked hard to find signs of pangolins, the most heavily trafficked mammal in the world! Athena was a rockstar, and thrived in the difficult terrain and climate. Her innate curiosity helped her handler through some tough days dealing with leeches, venomous snakes, steep slopes, and torrential down pours. Athena had a quick turn around once she got back to the US, driving cross country to the Adirondacks of upstate New York. Looking for moose scat, Athena actually encountered a bull moose while surveying! The population in the ADK is very elusive, so this is a rare occurrence for the teams on this study.
This dog is often confused for a small horse, and definitely has the work ethic of one! Before finding us, Ranger was at the Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco, where he was known for his silly smile, big ears, and funny little tail. While he was clearly a cool dog, he couldn't get adopted because of his high energy and insatiable need to play fetch! Luckily, the shelter recognized his work ethic and called on us to come get him in 2013. Ranger has worked on projects all over the country: bat and bird carcass detection on wind farms, large carnivore tracking in northeast Washington, tiny weasels in northern California, huge ungulates in upstate New York, and the mighty goshawk in eastern Washington! Though he might intimidate some due to his size-- our biggest dog at the kennel-- Ranger is a sweet and gentle soul! His handlers are always impressed by his work drive and excitement in the field.
Filson joined the pack at the beginning of 2017, and was breaking hearts left and right. Just look at that face! His adorable little ears and fluffy tail made everyone fall in love with him. He needed time to train, though, so he spent the year getting used to our style of work. At the kennel, Filson loves to play with any dog that will put up with him! He also loves all the handlers, and will show his affection by gently holding your hand in his mouth. Filson quickly showed his aptitude for all our training methods, and is always excited to show off his new skills. After a few short months, Filson proved he was ready for the field! In his first study, he helped HawkWatch International by conducting roadside surveys looking for animal carcasses that might cause mortalities of hawks and eagles. He was joined by his handler, Rachel, and friend #CK9Beckett! This study challenged his focus and drive, but he was dedicated to doing the best job!
In 2015, Duke arrived at our doors from Animal Care & Control San Francisco. With his underbite and curly tail, it's impossible not to fall in love with him! While we aren't certain what he is a mix of, we're certain that we love him. Duke has primarily worked on wind farm projects. These studies focus mainly on bird and bat carcass detection. It's important to understand how wind farms affect birds and bats, and our dogs are integral in helping understand wind turbine and animal interactions. Duke is especially good at these studies with small targets, where his ability to pinpoint is most useful. He can focus in delicately on difficult-to-see targets. In the coming year, watch out for Duke on the wind farms!
When Skye came to Conservation Canines in 2014 from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, she was shy and untrustworthy. If you asked her to come inside, she'd look at you skeptically and walk in the opposite direction. With time and patience, Skye grew to be comfortable with all the handlers and with exploring as a team in the field. In this year alone, Skye worked on three intense field studies on opposite sides of the world! From Nepal, to Vietnam, to upstate New York, to northern California, Skye was all over the place! In Nepal and Vietnam, Skye searched for scat from the critically endangered pangolin, the most heavily trafficked mammals in the world. This made the surveys tough, not to mention the thousands of leeches, the thick jungle understory, and the millions of other distractions! Skye spent the rest of the year looking for moose in the Adirondacks, and fisher and marten in northern California. When collecting data, this little powerhouse will quietly let you know to stop working and keep playing. She will emit a quiet yeti call to let you know it's time to throw the ball.
Hiccup came to the program from Performance Rescue in 2012. Though he's named after the character in "How to Train Your Dragon", the name is quite applicable because his high pitched back sounds a bit like a startling hiccup! Hiccup is probably the cutest dog to work with in the field. When he finds a target, his huge smile fills his entire face! Hiccup loves to blow bubbles in puddles and will run off in search of pools to dip in. If we needed a puddle detection dog, Hiccup would be the happiest pup in the world! Hiccup has worked on multiple wind farm studies across the country. This year, he spent his second summer in the Adirondacks of New York looking for moose scat! The warm weather and beautiful hills made for a perfect puddle-jumping and scat-detecting environment. Back at the kennel for the winter, Hiccup loves to slide around in the fresh snow and play with his best friend, Athena.
This energetic and bouncy pup joined our program 3 years ago, coming from a family that knew he needed a job suited to his personality. He found us, and we couldn't be happier! Beckett has worked mainly on "small-dog" studies, the ones that require a bit more finesse and carefulness. Primarily a wind farm dog, Beckett is famous for catching and tracking down an odor from over a mile away, the farthest distance of any CK9! Beckett proved to be a stellar wind farm detection dog, so he was also brought on to survey for the Oregon silverspot butterfly, a very rare species. Their poop (called "frass") is so small that it can be hard for handlers to even see it after the dog has shown where it is! This winter, Beckett worked along roadsides in Oregon looking for carcasses as part of a study with HawkWatch International (HWI). Beckett was helping to clear roadsides of potential food for hawks, eagles, and vultures, birds that feed on dead animals and could be hit by cars in the process. When not in the field, Beckett likes to spend his time with his best friend, Chester! The two are an odd duo: Beckett is 35 pounds and looks like a pom-pom, Chester is a huge lab mix who looks like a lion. Their differences don't matter, and the two share a bed every night they're together! Handlers at CK9 love Beckett for his happy smile and his "Beckett high-fives", where he stands on his back feet and waves his front paws when he's excited.
Zilly joined the program in 2015 from a family who saw how perfect she was for our line of work. She's ball crazy and eager to take on new challenges... as long as she's got her pals by her side! In her first year, Zilly worked on wind farms and brought laughter and joy to everyone there. Though not intentionally, Zilly is a goofball and makes all her handlers laugh constantly. She thinks of herself as a very serious pup, but we all see her silly side! This summer, Zilly worked in the Adirondacks looking for moose scat. In the fall, she accompanied her best friend, Suzie, to California to look for fisher and marten scat. Where does she get her name from? Well, Zilly is the only dog we know that will stick her tongue out while working into a scent. This dog could easily be a lizard, or Godzilla!
Dio came from the Humboldt County Animal Shelter in 2015. He was missing teeth and was nervous around all the people and dogs at the shelter. Even though he's tiny, our handlers saw potential for big things in his future! On wind farm studies, Dio is a certified superstar! His little nub of a tail is always wagging when he finds a target, and his methodical search method is something to be admired. Dio is also trained as a whale dog! Out on the Salish Sea, Dio worked hard to learn how to find whale scat from the bow of a boat. Certainly not an easy task, Dio proved to be an awesome detection dog for this job! Look out for him surfing the waves this summer!
Hooper joined the crew in 2014 and everyone quickly fell in love with this beautiful boy. He was picked up by four of our handlers who were all so excited to meet him, from Snoline Kennels in Arlington, WA. Hooper started his career on the wind farms, and was a super detector scouring all the corn and soybean fields! From there, Hooper went to start a year of cougar detection work. Hooper and his handler, Will, traveled all around the country, car camping and living off the land. These two cowboys traveled from New Mexico to Oregon, down to Utah and over to California. At just three years old, Hooper has a big career ahead of him! Who knows what he'll be doing in the new year, but we're sure it will be awesome!
This little lady joined us a long, long time ago, way back in 2005. Alli's spunk and vivacity quickly won her a spot in head handler Heath's heart. Since becoming a part of the pack, Alli has gone on innumerous studies tracking a dozen different species. While her work has taken her all over the country, she is most specialized in species of the PNW. Most recently, Alli went to Oregon in search of the silverspot butterfly caterpillar, a very rare species that has only been seen once in the wild in the last 30 years! While this work was difficult and often bore little reward, the teams were able to find the frass (caterpillar poop) of individuals in the field! At 13 years old, Alli is settling in to retired life at the side of her best friend. She still loves to play ball, and will affectionately nip on the neck of anyone who sits down and pets her.
Tucker, a huge black lab that looks remarkably similar to a bear, joined CK9 in 2006. He was adopted from Snoline Kennels, and was quickly sent up to Alberta, Canada to do work in the bitter cold looking for ungulates and wolves. After lots more land work, Tucker was chosen to take on a new challenge: boat work! Joined by his handler and friend, Liz, Tucker took to the high seas to chase after southern resident killer whale scat! His super sense of smell helps him track down the whale poo, which only floats for a short time. With this information, researchers at the University of Washington can determine the health of this population. After many seasons on the boat, Tucker retired this year and joined his handler on San Juan Island to spend his days relaxing! You might run into him on island, he's probably the biggest celebrity around (Sorry Chris Pratt!)
In 2007, Max joined the CK9 pack from Everett Animal Shelter. At two years old, he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for adventure. A new handler, Jennifer, quickly fell in love with him and became his best friend in the whole wide world. Through 10 years at CK9, Max has seen it all. Most well-known for his work on the spotted owl study finding owl pellets, Max has also been to Cambodia and Alberta! A little known fact, he is also one of the few dogs trained to do whale work. Max tracked lynx in northeast Washington and moose in upstate New York. He's traveled by bush plane, by four wheeler, by boat. He backpacked for 10 days in the Alaskan wilderness. Well, his handler had the backpack, Max had to find the scats! Max is slowly adopting his new role as retiree. While he does love to spend time on the couch, he's never one to pass up a hike or swim! This past year, he joined Jennifer and #CK9Scooby on tons of field studies, tagging along for the hike.
This little bean joined our program in 2008, when the Kitsap Humane Society told us about a little Jack Russell who couldn't even be adopted by the Jack Russell rescue group! Our handlers saw that this pup needed a job, and Casey went on an exciting adventure to southern California in search of the Pacific pocket mouse. This species was thought to be extinct, but the CK9s were called in to do noninvasive surveys after a mouse was found in a live animal trap! After this project, Casey "self-retired". He still wanted to play ball, but wasn't really into working for the reward. So we found a new job for him: education outreach! Now, Casey and his handler, Julianne, travel from school to school teaching kids about the work we do and the exciting world of science! Casey is the perfect ambassador for the classroom, have you seen Casey at your school?