When a dog needs a job, our staff get to work!

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Buddy walking with handler

Clackamas County Dog Services employee Kourtney Kuiper and Buddy at the Hillsboro Airport just before Buddy’s flight to California.

Just like people, dogs have lots of personality and different needs. When the owners are not found for lost or stray dogs that are brought to our dog shelter, the dogs are assessed for medical needs and behavior issues so we can appropriately care for them and place them in new homes or transfer them to rescues that will best serve their needs.

In September, Buddy was brought to the shelter as a stray. During the required stray holding period Buddy quickly let staff know that he was no ordinary Labrador. He needed to use his nose, to run and be challenged daily or he was bored, stressed and frustrated. Staff acknowledged that with his personality, drive and behavioral needs, he wouldn’t be content as a typical household pet. Buddy craved structure to keep his brain engaged, his nose active and body moving all the time.

When staff member Kourtney Kuiper recognized what Buddy needed to be a happy dog, she applied for him to train with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in California. The foundation rescues and trains dogs to partner with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried or trapped in the wreckage of disasters.

After preliminary video evaluations of his behavior, the foundation decided Buddy had potential. He was flown to California by a network of volunteer pilots arranged by the foundation for further assessment and training. Buddy passed all the tests and was accepted into the search and rescue dog training program.

Now Buddy is living his best life learning to help to save lives! We are grateful for the care our dedicated staff give to each dog that arrives at our shelter, and to this foundation and all the rescues we partner with to set these dogs up for success and keep our communities healthy and safe.

Learn more about what Dog Services does. Learn more about the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Black lab jumps to catch ball

Buddy plays fetch at Clackamas County Dog Services shelter.

Buddy is loaded onto a plane in a kennel

Dog Services staff help transport Buddy for the first half of his flight to California.

Black lab and pilot outside of small plane

Pilot Mike flew Buddy for the second half of his journey to California for assessment and training through the Pilots and Paws nonprofit network.

Buddy at new training center

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation staff member greets Buddy in California at the training center.