“When a door closes,” the saying goes, “another door opens.” For a very special dog, it seems the saying applies to dog gates as well.
A Labrador-Retriever mix named Sheldon enrolled in a program to become a service dog. Training at Paws With A Cause in Wayland, Michigan, he unfortunately failed to pass the grade.
Whenever he sensed something interesting, Sheldon’s concentration flew out the window and all he wanted to do was search for the source.
But what made him a lost service dog meant he was probably perfect for another canine run. Rather than return him to civilian life, Sheldon was transferred to State Farm’s Arson Dog Program, where his sensitive nose soon placed him at the top of the class for sniffing out the accelerators used to start illegal fires.
Along with Lt. John Tadlock of the Saginaw, Texas fire department, upon graduation, Sheldon became the department’s chief accelerator detection canine.
In their first case, Sheldon and his partner were called to a car dealership to investigate some vehicles that had been set on fire in suspicious circumstances. After three days, no one had been able to find out how the fire started, but the cause was not puzzling to Sheldon.
“We get out of the truck and put it to work. It takes about 30 seconds and gives me an alert, “Tadlock told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“We searched the rubble and found a Molotov cocktail. It was right under some debris from the vehicle that had burned down three days earlier. You couldn’t even see it. ”But Sheldon dug up the evidence with ease.
Sheldon lives with Lieutenant Tadlock and his family (and will continue to do so even in retirement). To maintain their skills at the highest level, the duo regularly train on a reward / accolade-based system and participate in State Farm’s annual certification program.
“He was a better fire dog than a service dog,” Tadlock said.
For a dog that was blessed with a super “scented” tracker, we believe that if you are following the bad guys or looking for a career, it is always best to follow your nose.
Sheldon isn’t the only puppy unfit for a specialty job to have had one bone thrown for another – German Shepherd Gavel didn’t have the right stuff to become a police dog, but GNN reported that he did. perfectly suited for his role as vice-royal dog for the Queensland Government House.
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