It’s not unusual to read about a working dog that herds sheep or guards a facility against intruders. But dogs can perform a wide range of jobs with the right training—or the right public relations. Meet some dogs who have found their calling in occupations you might not expect.
1. PIPER THE WILDLIFE CONTROL EXPERT
Meet K-9 Piper. A seven-year-old border collie, Piper is a Wildlife Control Canine at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan. His mission is to keep wildlife away from the runways, as a part of the airport’s federally mandated Wildlife Hazard Management Plan. He is the only such K-9 in Michigan, and one of less than ten in the U.S. His duties include chasing birds away from the airport, and doing the same for rodents that attract birds of prey. He responds to reports of wildlife, and does perimeter checks for evidence of infiltration. In addition, he’s a great morale boost for the airport staff. K-9 Piper even has an Instagram account for his fans.
2. ALBERT THE INTERNET SCIENTIST
Albert the Labrador retriever is the star of the fairly new blog Dog Scientist. In a series of videos, he shows how dogs are intelligent, inquisitive, persistent, and will try new approaches to solving a problem. There are even more videos on Albert’s YouTube channel. In the one above, Dr. Albert uses Archimedes' principle to raise the level of soup in a container.
3. LILA THE LOBSTER DIVER
Alex Schulze founded Devocean, an organization dedicated to conserving sea turtles. He also has two Labradors he employs as lobster divers. He first trained Lila to swim to a depth of up to 15 feet to pluck lobsters from the ocean floor. Maverick followed, and now the two are experts at retrieving dinner for Schulze. Schulze posted a tutorial, in case you want to teach your dog to dive too.
4. CHESTER LUDLOW, THE FRAUD SPECIALIST
Chester Ludlow is a pug who was recruited by the website GetEducated.com to check out an online degree opportunity. In 2009, he submitted an application to Rochville University, along with the $499 fee, and received an MBA a week later! He also received a transcript certifying he had earned a 3.19 GPA. Rochville University was exposed as a diploma mill operating out of Pakistan. Chester’s MBA brought him quite a bit of fame, his own Facebook page, and a starring role in a video warning about diploma scams. However, his MBA did not open any doors to executive positions. Chester is one of several dogs awarded various degrees to illustrate the problems with diploma mills.
5. BEAR THE ELECTRONIC SNIFFER
You know how the police use dogs trained to sniff out drugs or bombs? Dogs can specialize in the distinct smells of other things as well. A two-year-old black lab named Bear became a celebrity last year when he helped police gather evidence in the Jared Fogle child pornography case. Bear is trained to detect electronic data devices, whether it's a computer or a hidden microchip. In the Fogle case, Bear identified a thumb drive that contained child pornography. The Seattle Police Department purchased Bear soon after the Fogle case, where he will specialize in Internet crime.
6. LIFEGUARD DOGS
The Italian Coast Guard uses dogs as lifesavers for swimmers in trouble. There are about 300 Newfoundlands, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers on duty at various beaches, ready to jump if someone needs help back to shore. After a dog has been on duty for three years, it may be selected for an elite group of expert “rescuers,” trained to jump from boats and helicopters to retrieve people from deep water. Dogs are trained by the Italian School of Canine Lifeguards program at about a dozen locations in Italy.