Not all Australian working dogs are suited to farm life. Some also, are less suited to living a regular domestic life. Imagine a dog that needs to work to stimulate to his mind and expend seemingly boundless energy. Picture this high-energy adolescent dog chewing apart the interior of an apartment. Well that’s just what happened but he was still a lovely boy. He just loved to play and had a gentle nature around other animals. Enter ‘Bear’. This was what Bear’s life was like before 2016. Before he went on to meet the team at ‘The Detection Dogs for Conservation’ program at the University of the Sunshine Coast and became a koala detection dog.
You probably remember our recent blog about dogs trained to find koala scat for counting populations. Dogs detect koala scat with 100% success compared with humans (around 70% success). Bear’s current employment has a difference because now he has just moved to working in fire-ravaged areas. Bear was an ideal fit for this work with his soft nature, and happy to spend hours in the bush with researchers working for a toy reward. When Australia recently fell into the grip its worse bushfire season on record our marsupials suffered the biggest losses.
Bear is sponsored by the ‘International Fund for Animal Welfare’. Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has reported 350 koala fatalities from the bushfires so far, which is a devastating blow to a population already under pressure from land clearing and attacks by domestic animals.
The image above shows Bear working ‘in the field’ donning his special booties. Not all fire-affected areas are safe to enter yet but while Bear and dogs like him on the job vital research about koalas can continue and have a greater chance of getting injured koalas to medical care.
Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)