One of the oldest sayings there is is “work like a dog” – and here are some dogs that do just that!
While a few of the working dogs we are profiling are purebreds – there are also many who are rescue dogs because we wanted to of course showcase the awesomeness that awaits those who are willing to give a shelter dog a chance!
Some of the dogs listed are deceased now, some are retired and some are still actively employed – but no matter what stage they are at – they are just incredibly inspiring!
If you want even more great stories there was also a book written on dogs doing amazing jobs! Kim Kachanoff is a DVM who shares 21 stories of dog with jobs – you can grab it on Amazon!
One of the things we love most about many of these stories is the human/canine connection that takes place between a working dog and their handler. We were happy to find in our research that in most cases, the dogs would ultimately be adopted by their work handlers!
We cannot imagine that kind of connection that takes place when being co-workers, but to know they can “retire” with the only family they know and love warms our hearts.
Cooper & Charlotte
Lake Mead is an incredibly popular venue for those that love the outdoors and they are very pet friendly! They offer ranger-led dog hikes and most of the park is open to dogs and their owners.
But what makes Lake Mead really awesome – the addition of 2 Bark Rangers who work the park!
Cooper is a Yorkie and Charlotte is a Golden Retriever and they work hard to help park rangers during various educational classes they host! They attend classrooms, do meet and greets at park events and Charlotte also uses her therapy skills to help visitors deal with any stressful situations that arise.
Below is Cooper looking dapper in his custom designed park ranger uniform!
Aero / Piper
Bird Chaser/ Wildlife Control Officer
Aero is a border collie who has a pretty important job as a bird chaser! She uses her natural instincts to herd animals to chase the birds away from runways and taxiways at the airport. The airport has been using dogs since 1999 for this specific job and prides itself on a low rate of wildlife strikes due to the procurement of these animals.
Another dog that had become “famous” so to speak for his mad skills at an airport was Piper, who sadly passed this year of cancer. Piper underwent a lot of training with his owner Brian Edwards and was a critical asset to the Cherry Capital Airport where he was in charge of wildlife control. He not only made sure birds stayed away – he also focused his attention on other critters like groundhogs and foxes!
Yeah to the gentlemen who saw Kiah in a group of abandoned shelter dogs in TX and decided to give her a chance as a police dog. She was in the shelter – found with a head injury they say was from being hit with a hammer – but was taken into training by UniversalK9 to see if she could take on the challenge of being a K-9 officer.
Fast forward and now Kiah is a narcotics and missing persons detection dog in NYC – oh, and she also the unique distinction of being the first official pit bull police dog in the state of NY!
Search & Rescue
Imagine being in a shelter – possibly only a day or two left before you are next to be euthanized, but then your hero walks in the door and saves you. That is what happened to Pearl.
Surrendered to an animal shelter when she was 4 years old this black lab was pulled by volunteers from National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to be trained and certified as a search dog – and search she did! One of her best accomplishments was being on the ground in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. This hero spent many hours looking for victims under the rubble and the team managed to save 12 people!
Pearl went on to become the ASPCA’s dog of the year in 2010!
You know those dogs in the shelters – the one that are deemed almost un-adoptable because they show horribly in their cages. You know the ones jumping, barking and that have that crazy look in their eyes – yeah, that was Wicket. Labeled “crazy” by shelter workers they thought she would have a hard time finding a home, but clearly in her case crazy was a good thing!
The lure of a tennis ball was all it took for someone to think she had something special – and boy were they right!
Wicket, a member of the Working Dogs for Conservation family, went on to train – and trained quickly at that to be a sniffer at Yellowstone National Park. Her incredible sniffing skills took her to 8 countries and 18 states where her skills were used to assist in conservation. She was able to learn to track 32 different scents!
Wicket went on to retire – but her work and achievements will not be forgotten.
Lead Bed Bug Detective
Roscoe — an adorable little Beagle rescued from a shelter in Kentucky spent over 600 hours in training to become a graduate of the Forensic & Scientific Training Investigations Center with a degree in bed bug detection.
Clearly he has more education than I do.
Roscoe is in charge of finding bed bugs for the Bell Environmental team in a variety of locations throughout the Northeast. He visits schools, hospitals, hotels and more to help keep bed bugs at bay! Roscoe has been interviewed by various media including ABC’s Good Morning America and NY Times and has even made an appearance on the Monsters Inside Me series!
You can learn more about Roscoe and follow him socially with their “where’s Roscoe” initiative! I almost wish I had bed bugs so I can invite him over!
Definitely one of the more dangerous jobs on this list – it almost makes us sad to think about what COULD happen with this career path. But Betsy – a Belgin Malinois has successfully saved lives by her incredible ability to find landmines and unexploded ammunition.
Since 2009 she has worked with her trainer on over 103 acres of land to ensure the civilians are safe and to allow them to use land for other resources such as cattle, crops and more. They have worked together through some trying times like in 2014 when Bosnia had flooding issues due to excessive rain that led to fears of landmines rising! But they worked together – navigated the treacherous land and saved countless lives.
Betsy will be retiring soon – but will be adopted by her handler, Alden Cesko. The team was awarded in 2014 as mine detection dog team of the year by the Marshall Legacy Institute.
This team was founded with support from the Marshall Legacy Institute who donates to the training of landmine detection dogs. They have also noted prominently on their website that they have NEVER lost a dog to a landmine injury – this really makes us happy.
Marine Rescue Dog
There are just no words for the awesomeness that is called Whizz. As most commonly found in water rescue dogs – Whizz was a Newfoundland, a dog that is really the epitome of what a life saving water dog is because of their build, webbed paws and thick coats.
Whizz is considered to be the number one rescue dog in the world.
Why you ask?
Well, because he not only saved a fellow pooch but has also been credited with saving many people who were at risk of drowning. He was also a therapy dog and visited hospitals to spread his joy. Whizz enjoyed 10 years in his career and was well loved by all in the area in which he resided with his owner.
Whizz was posthumously given the PDSA order of merit award which recognizes animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or society – above and beyond normal companionship.