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WORKING DOGS

Have Nose, Will Search

By Mary Terra-Berns

M

eet Hudson: young, energetic, blonde hair, brown eyes, big nose and four paws. Hudson is a yellow Labrador retriever and has completed a Human Tracking and Wildlife Detection K-9 program with his handler, Idaho Fish and Game (IFG) Senior Conservation Officer Matt Haag. Haag and Hudson recently graduated from a rigorous, nine-week course in French Lick, Ind., at one of the country’s foremost K-9 training facilities. Indiana hosts dogs and their handlers from agencies across the country. Training includes searching and locating hidden wildlife or wildlife parts, locating firearms, detecting gunpowder and tracking people. The program costs $12,000 per dog; a grant from Safari Club International paid for Haag and Hudson.  Indiana’s K-9 program has chronicled successes

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for 19 years, and state fish and wildlife agencies across the country have taken notice. IFG initiated a K-9 pilot project in 2011, when Senior Conservation Officer Jim Stirling and his black lab, Pepper, attended the Indiana program. Pepper quickly proved his worth by tracking wildlife violators and, most importantly, when he located a lost 2-year-old boy who had wandered two miles from home. The results of the pilot project have shown the benefits of skilled K-9 teams, and two more teams were added to the program. When IFG announced that additional K-9 teams were being added, Haag eagerly put his name in the hat. He is a dog lover and has always been amazed by their abilities, especially when they have a job to do. “Working with a canine partner will be a chal-

SUMMER 2016

SANDPOINT MAGAZINE

89

5/11/16 9:03 AM

Profile for Keokee :: media + marketing

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2016  

In this Issue: Dog Town, Idaho How people and their dogs have created Sandpoint’s copious canine culture Plus ‘Peaking’ Our Interest - Peak...

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2016  

In this Issue: Dog Town, Idaho How people and their dogs have created Sandpoint’s copious canine culture Plus ‘Peaking’ Our Interest - Peak...

Profile for keokee