There is great communication between humans and dogs and this has been used in various activities in the past, but now it is more prevalent than ever before. Dogs can screen for harmful elements at the border and this is why the Hartfield-Jackson Airport founded what they call the Beagle Brigade.
The Story of Murray
Murray is a three year old beagle who was rescued by the Alcovy Pet Rescue from the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter and the dog was quite easily frightened at the time. “He was scared and timid and everything like that, which is probably from being stuck in a small cage or kennel and not (being allowed) to socialize or (being) paid attention to”, said Tammie Jordanais.
The poor dog had to have a part of his tail amputated when he got into rescue as someone tied a very tight band across it and cut off all the circulation. The vet thought that the previous owners believed they could cut the dog’s tail this way without having to pay for a professional to help them. Obviously this led to a lot of pain and it is illegal to do such a thing without a licensed vet as it is considered a form of torture.
Aside from this wound, Murray also had half of an ear missing and it was clear that he was suffering so after the vets took care of his injuries the dog became a lot friendlier. “We socialized him with other animals and we pretty much just loved on him, so he’d know that not all people are bad people” said Jourdanais.
Too Injured For Adoption
As his problems were so serious they considered Murray to be unfit for adoption in his current state but the Alcovy Pet Rescue welcomed him into their shelter. Claudette Towe was the person who fostered Murray for a month and she recalls: “While he was at my place, he was so food motivated. He would get into all the cabinets, trying to find food – you know, he was so skinny when he first got to us. I was what a great nose he has.”
A New Future
Since he seemed to have a natural talent for detecting things by smell Claudette called a training specialist at the National Detector Training Center and this changed Murray’s life. He was trained and entered into the detector dog program of the Los Angeles International Airport to check for food, fruit or meat items that the travelers might have which contain pests or diseases that may be harmful to the agriculture of the country.
The US has quarantined over 1.7 million materials last year alone through the aid of detector dogs and over 60,000 harmful pests have been intercepted so they save a lot of time and money. The way the dogs are trained is to think of this activity as a game, when they find something harmful they are rewarded with treats so they are always motivated to do a good job and have fun doing it.