Posted on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Odd Jobs for Dogs


Forget about the usual gigs like hunting and herding and guarding: Some dogs just know how to work outside the box.

PBS-TV’s Nova recently reported on some dogs with interesting resumes. They work for Thailand’s Humanitarian Mine Action Unit, which uses them to search for land mines in a village east of Bangkok.

While all dogs have sensitive noses that can smell things up to about four inches underground, these highly trained dogs have learned to detect objects at a far greater depth and – against their instincts – to walk in straight lines while they search. According to the Nova account, they’ve proven to be among the most effective tools for mine detection and have helped prevent thousands of fatalities in warring nations around the world.

 Dogster, meanwhile, gathered information to prove that even small dogs can have big jobs. Take little Tag, a Morkie – a cross between Yorkshire terrier and Maltese – and, at five pounds, a true lightweight.

He works with his owner, Tami Goldstein, who is a craniosacral therapist. In lay terms, that means she does gentle, hands-on therapy to enhance the functioning of the body’s craniosacral system -membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that protect the brain and spinal cord.

As her assistant, Tag rests on a patient’s body, providing warmth and a feeling of well being. This is particularly good for children with autism, who may become agitated in strange places or be wary of human help. Tag the Morkie is a different story.

“I work with individuals on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disorders. Tag is trained to lie on the person down the middle of their body or next to them. He provides comfort and some pressure to help calm them,” said Goldstein.

Young and old, ready for adventure

Not all great dogs are young pups, either. Take Mr. Pish, traveling terrier and super senior. Owned by novelist K.S. Brooks, Mr. Pish is the poster dog for learning and co-author of six children’s books in the Mr. Pish Educational Series. According to Brooks, he has traveled to 41 states and seven provinces of Canada and inspires kids to read, write and enjoy the outdoors like he does.

And no tale of awesome dogs would be complete without a hero. So don’t forget Hero, a four year old Golden Retriever who saved a paralyzed Gareth Jones when his wheelchair got stuck in a muddy field.

Unable to move, Jones threw Hero a rope. Hero pulled and pulled until the wheelchair was free.

“He didn’t let go until I was clear. He knew exactly what he was doing.”

This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.