A Nose Ahead
Like so many other homeless pups, Wally, a young black Pit Bull mix, had been living the shelter life far too long before the tides finally started to turn in his favor. Sweet-faced and youthful, he arrived at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS)—an ASPCA partner shelter—earlier this summer with a strong personality that made him stand out from the pack. And yet, he still didn’t meet his match.
But thanks to the shelter’s selfless corps of volunteers, Wally wasn’t far from the minds of several Good Samaritan animal lovers, including SCRAPS volunteer Karen Allen. When Karen read an article about scent-detection dogs, like those who work with conservationists to study whales and their habitats, she immediately thought of Wally. Whale conservation dogs work from boats to locate whale scat samples, and many can detect it from more than one nautical mile away. These samples are key clues in determining why whales are disappearing from their natural homes.
Everyone at SCRAPS knew Wally had the drive and work ethic to make a successful working dog—and what better way to give back than by helping to preserve another living species? After receiving the go-ahead from SCRAPS staff, Karen contacted the head of a whale conservation program in western Washington. One of the program’s canine handlers came to SCRAPS to test Wally, who passed with flying colors and was considered a promising candidate. In late July, he made his way across the state to begin training to become a conservation dog.
“Our volunteers are always working hard to help find homes for our pets,” said Nancy Hill, Director of SCRAPS. “But this time they really went the extra mile to give Wally a very unique new home and hopefully a new job!”