Rick -- Retired

German Shepherd/Dane Cross

Began Working: 
April 2001
Photo Courtesy of K. DeMatteo
Photo Courtesy of K. DeMatteo
Rick was obtained from the Seattle Animal Control shelter where he was was deemed unplaceable as a pet and scheduled for euthanasia. After completing five weeks of the Washington State Department of Corrections narcotics course he was removed due to an injury. Rick returned to complete another six weeks of narcotics training with a new handler and was certified and accredited as a narcotic detection dog. However, due to the traumas suffered prior to his acquisition from Seattle Animal Control, Rick failed to make the transition from narcotic training to law enforcement application.  He had a career change in 2001 when he was adopted by PACKLEADER and began work as a conservation dog. With PACKLEADER's help Rick overcame the trauma of his past and was one of our most valuable and adaptable dogs as is demonstrated by his service record.  This earned him the status of "Senior Dog" at PACKLEADER.

Rick is retired from field work.  He most recently has been involved in a pilot project to determine if a detection dog can identify fossils.  He is currently living in Eastern Oregon and is loved by Toni, Maury and Tiffany.  He has his own yard, couch and personal cat.
Mid 2003: University of Washington Individual Matching Study
Pilot project using detector dogs to identify individuals within a species using scat.  Project is using bear scat that has been identified by DNA sampling.
Handler:      Heath Smith
Principle Investigator:  Dr. Sam Wasser, University of Washington, Center for Conservation Biology.

August - October 2004: University of Washington Pilot Project -Cerrado Species Survey, Brazil
Conservation dog teams are being utilized to 1) demonstrate the effectiveness of the scat dog detection program for monitoring wildlife, 2) collect abundance and distribution information for several of the Cerrado’s mammal species, 3) determine the relative stress levels and health of individuals both within and outside of Emas National Park, and 4) develop a program that could become self-sufficient within Brazil.
Handlers:      Heath Smith/Carly Vynne
Principle Investigator:  Dr. Sam Wasser, University of Washington, Center for Conservation Biology.

January - February 2004: Mojave Desert Tortoise Survey
The Hyundai/Kia Motor Company employed detection dogs in locating live tortoise specimens in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s protocol for listed species under the Endangered Species Act. While in the field, dogs also indicated on occupied burrows up to 3m in depth, carcasses and scats.
Handler:  Sarah Weigley
Principle Investigator:  William Vanherweg

May - August 2003: Vermont Forest Carnivore Study
Conservation dog teams were utilized to assess the presence and absence of forest carnivores in areas of human disturbance throughout Vermont. Detection dogs were trained to locate black bear, fisher and bobcat scats.
Handler: Shauna Barron
Principle Investigator:  Robert Long, University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

April-July 2001, 2002: Yellowhead Ecosystem Grizzly Study
The Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington and the Foothills Model Forest extension of Parks Canada used detector dogs to locate grizzly and black bear scats around Jasper National Park. Collected scats were analyzed to estimate population size and determine significance of human disturbance on grizzly bears in Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada.
Handler:  Sarah Weigley
Principle Investigator:  Dr. Sam Wasser, University of Washington, Center for Conservation Biology.

2000 -  2001: Species Identification Study
Trained to distingush between scats from similar species.  Two separate studies were conducted on distinguishing kit fox from red fox and grizzly bear from black bear.
Trainer/Handler:  Barbara Davenport
Principle Investigators:  Aimee Hurt (Grizzly / Black Bear)
Deb Smith (Kit Fox / Red Fox)
Photo Courtest of H. Smith
Rick with Sarah Weigley-Jones in Canada (left) and with Dr. Sam Wasser in Brazil (right)