I have just started reading the wonderful book, Dog Sense, by John Bradshaw, in which Bradshaw discusses (among many other topics) how science can help redefine dogs’ roles in our lives. We may not need our dogs to help us hunt and herd livestock in our daily lives these days. But as we learn more about their incredible capabilities, dogs are taking on ever more specialized tasks. Three wonderful examples came to the forefront as I watched the news and my Facebook account this past week.
We’ve all heard of drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs – but a sperm-sniffing dog? Apparently, a Swiss K-9 named Rapports Opus is specially trained to detect sperm. Rapports Opus recently caught the scent of sperm at a crime scene in a Swiss park where a woman claimed a man had forced her to perform oral sex on him. Officers sent the evidence for testing, and the DNA in the sample matched that of the 23-year-old suspect. The suspect has been apprehended, and is currently facing trial on rape charges. That is one impressive dog! Thanks very much to Nan Arthur of Whole Dog Training and Christy Hill of Coaching Creative Canines for posting this story.
Speaking of K-9s, a local K-9 unit recently lost a hero. Lightcap, a bomb sniffing K-9 with the Fairfax County Police Department, served from 2006 to 2011. Not even cancer kept this dedicated K-9 down, with Lightcap continuing his service during his final year even while battling the disease. Lightcap not only sniffed bombs, but also performed work such as finding shell casings at the scene of shootings. Lightcap passed on July 14 of this year. May this hero rest in peace. Special thanks to Lesley Sullivan of The Pawkeepers for bringing this story to my attention.
Of course, law enforcement is not the only area where dogs use their specially honed detection skills. Service dogs are becoming more and more prevalent, including service dogs who can detect seizures. Evan Moss, a seven-year-old boy here in Northern Virginia, suffers from epilepsy, which is causing severe and debilitating seizures. Evan recently heard about seizure detection dogs. He and his parents realize that a seizure detection dog would be life-altering for Evan, and contacted 4 Paws for Ability. The only problem is the price tag — $13,000. So what did Evan do? He wrote a book called “My Seizure Dog,” in which he describes all the wonderful things he will be able to do with the aid of his special service dog. Evan’s book is $10, and you can purchase it online at CreateSpace.com or Amazon. You can also make a donation Evan’s fund with 4 Paws for Ability. Evan also has a website, Dog 4 Evan. If you would like to meet Evan in person, he is having a book signing today from 1:00 to 3:00 at the Grounded Coffee Shop at 6919 Telegraph Road in Fairfax County, Virginia. What a special child! Best of luck to you, Evan! Thanks to the Washington Post for highlighting Evan’s story in this weekend’s Metro section.
UPDATE (7/25/11): Congratulations, Evan! The Washington Post reports that 600 people went to his booksigning at Grounded Coffee, 400 books sold (that’s $4000 right there!). And donations are still pouring in. The donation link to Evan’s website, www.dog4Evan.com, shows he has over $7,000 raised now! Looks like Evan will have his seizure alert dog, and hopefully very soon!
UPDATE (7/27/11): Evan will be getting his service dog! He reached his goal of $13,000 — and the donations are still rolling in! Plus, Evan’s book is #1 on Amazon for bestsellers in Children’s health books! Congratulations, Evan!
UPDATE (8/2/11): Evan has raised over $20,000! Not only will he get his dog, the extra funds will go to two other deserving children who need service dogs! Check out today’s Washington Post update for more info on this fantastic story.