Visit their website to learn more http://www.icdda.org/]]>
Handler: Anne Dottore
Deployed: Staten Island Landfil
Handler: Tom Andert
Deployed: World Trade Center
The WDC was originally founded in 2007 to address the research and education needs of the working dog community. The inspiration came from the experiences of founder and Director, Dr. Cindy Otto, working with FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs, specifically those on Pennsylvania Task Force One. Caring for and monitoring SAR dogs through training and deployments (including hurricane Floyd and 9/11), Dr. Otto saw the importance of these dogs and the need for more knowledge to ensure their optimal health and performance. The vision expanded to include other working dogs including those in the military and police. Recognizing the national shortage of high quality detection dogs and the reliance on foreign suppliers, the WDC opened its Puppy Foundation Training Program (PFTP) on September 11, 2012 as a legacy to those dogs who served at the 9/11 disaster sites.
What breeds of dogs do you select for the WDC Puppy Foundation Training Program (PFTP)?
We select dogs not based on the breed but based on the health and performance history of their pedigree. We do have a majority of Labradors because there are many excellent kennels in the United States that are producing high drive dogs with certified healthy parents.
Why does the WDC not use shelter dogs?
We recognize that there are many dogs that need homes and some of those dogs need jobs. We also recognize that the type of work we are asking our dogs to do is highly specialized and the combination of top performance and health both have strong genetic influences. We are pleased to know and work with programs that screen dogs from shelters for various working roles, we also know how hard they have to look and how few dogs actually succeed in programs (current estimates suggest 1000 shelter dogs are screened for every one that is successful). There is a large demand for working dogs and not enough dogs available for all of the jobs. Currently the majority of working dogs in this country are imported from breeding programs in Europe. We believe that we can identify and select for better and healthier dogs with a breeding program in this country, similar to what is done with many of the service dog organizations. We also hope that the research we are doing in the genetics and training aspects will help other organizations be more successful in identifying those shelter dogs that will excel in working roles.
What are you training the WDC dogs to find?
Our program is a foundation program, which means we are teaching the dogs the basic skills necessary for a successful career in detection. We like to think of it as a liberal arts degree that will prepare them to go on to the advanced training that best suits their physical and behavioral strengths. Our dogs currently search for their favorite toy or for a concealed person (any hidden person). When they graduate from our program they will learn to apply their search skills to their specified target odor (i.e., explosives, drugs, cancer).
How do your dogs search?
To ensure they will succeed in any detection program, our dogs learn to confidently search independently (off leash) as well as on leash. They use “air scenting” to identify the slightest trace of odor and follow it to the source.
How does the dog alert you when they find the source of the odor?
We typically start by teaching an active alert (e.g., scratch or bark) and may progress to a passive alert (sit or down). The final alert will be determined by what odor the dog is trained to detect. We also take advantage of a dog’s natural tendency to respond, so if a dog spontaneously offers a passive alert (sit) when they identify an odor, we will develop and reward that response.
When does training start?
Puppies start training from the day they join the program at 8 weeks. They spend at least 8 hours a day Monday through Friday in the WDC to learn the basics of search, agility, fitness, impulse control, obedience and drive.
How is your program supported?
Our program is entirely funded by private donations and grants.
What makes the WDC program unique?
Our program is the only detection dog training program that combines the rigors of intensive daily training (conducted at the WDC) with the socialization benefits of family living (dogs stay with their foster families in the evenings and on weekends).
Our dogs are placed in a detection field that best utilize their physical and behavioral traits and meet the national demand.
Our robust Volunteer Corps regularly interact with the dogs, providing invaluable socialization for the dogs and meaningful engagement for the volunteers.
As part of Penn Vet and the University of Pennsylvania, the WDC is bolstered by the world class talents of Penn clinicians, scientists and students.
Research and data collection are embedded in every phase of the training program, ensuring that the profession and all dogs will benefit from our work.]]>
Our next goal is to raise funds to convert the 237.8 cu feet of cargo space into a safe and useful puppy-mobile. DONATE NOW!
Why is this donation so important?
No matter which detection field our puppies end up working in, they will all be expected to perform in novel environments. They will not work where they train, and to make sure they are prepared it is imperative they train in diverse environments to generalize their skills. For many dogs, such as the FEMA Urban Search & Rescue dogs, going to work also entails a long ride to the site of the disaster before going to work.
To be able to now take numerous puppies at one time to gain the experience of travel time and exposure to new training sites on a more consistent schedule only strengthens the comprehensive Puppy Foundation Training Program.
Interested in donating your time, talents or a special gift to the Working Dog Center?
Big and small, short and tall, each and every one of you has unique skills that can be contributed to the success of the Working Dog Center and its puppies. Learn more about volunteer options and contributing to the center HERE.
Research Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen graduated from the University of Missouri with an MS in Animal Science and her MBA from Columbia College. Before joining the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, she worked with Purina Mills providing nutritional programs for dog owners across the Midwest and as a Veterinary Technician at a large practice in Kansas City.
She has been involved with Urban Search and Rescue since 2003 as a Canine Search Specialist with Missouri Task Force One. Her experience as a trainer, combined with her interest in research, drew her to the mission of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.
Kathleen continues to deploy with Missouri Task Force One with current partner, an American Bull Dog Mix, ChicoDog. Kathleen is also a member of McClean County EMA with her Human Remains Detection dog, a German Shepherd Dog, Zach. She is also enjoying training Nosework with her retired USAR partner, a Dutch Shepherd named Calvary.]]>
Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator | email@example.com
Pat graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Special Education. Her dogs have been used as therapy dogs in her special education classrooms. She coordinated the “Cody Project”, a community service program using school students to train search dogs. She received a Teacher of the Year Award from the Kids in Need Foundation in 2010.
Pat has worked with volunteers in many non-profits. She was Director of PA Special Olympic Equestrian Events, an instructor at Thorncroft Equestrian Center, Director of the Upper Main Line YMCA “Open Doors” Program, and President and Volunteer Coordinator for Lake County Search and Rescue.
Pat has been a search dog handler since 1992. She is a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Canine Search Specialist, Evaluator, and Instructor.
Pat and her husband Hakan love the outdoors and have a mountain home in Colorado.]]>
Training Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
Major Annemarie DeAngelo retired from the New Jersey State Police in January of 2012, concluding a distinguished thirty-one year career. She was assigned to patrol, canine, investigation and administration before rising to the command staff positions of Executive Officer in the Homeland Security Branch and Field Operations “Troop C” Commanding Officer.
Annemarie was the founder and architect of the New Jersey State Police Canine Unit. She began training dogs for obedience and personal protection under the guidance of a military canine trainer in 1980. That experience steered her law enforcement career and she became the first NJSP narcotic dog (Buddy) handler. For the next 13 years she served in the Canine Unit as a handler, trainer, and ultimately unit leader. She earned trainer certifications from both the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the United States Police Canine Association. She is an active canine trial judge and advocate for law enforcement and civilian canine organizations.
Annemarie and her canine partner “Buster” were awarded the National Detector Dog “Case of the Year” for an investigation and scent detection that led to the seizure of 1,200 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a tractor trailer. She was also the recipient of the prestigious “Gene Catre Memorial Award” presented by The College of New Jersey Criminal Justice Department for career contributions to the law enforcement community.
Annemarie earned her Masters of Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University where she also earned a graduate certification in School Security and Safety Administration.]]>
Director of Operations | email@example.com
Sarah has worked for Atlantic County Government, for AtlantiCare Behavioral Health, for The Arc of Atlantic County and at Gilda’s Club South Jersey, where she was CEO. She was the first chair of the Atlantic County Women’s Commission and was a volunteer family mediator with the Community Justice Institute for many years. She has served on the boards of local non-profits, including CASA, and also served as the Chair of the Port Republic Environmental Commission in the 1980’s.
She graduated with a Liberal B.A. from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and from the University of Warwick in Coventry England, with an MA in Politics.
Sarah and her husband Jan Colijn live in Port Republic, New Jersey with their beagle. Their daughter, Cory, also works at the University of Pennsylvania where she is a graduate student.]]>
Executive Director, Associate Professor of Critical Care | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Otto, a member of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 from 1994 to 2010, began monitoring the health and behavior of Urban Search and Rescue canines in October of 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. This work inspired her to establish the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.
She has published over 60 articles in peer reviewed journals, authored over 10 book chapters and lectured nationally and internationally on Emergency Medicine, Disaster Medicine and Working Dogs.
Her research program has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery, Morris Animal Foundation and other foundations.
She has also been involved in disaster medicine as a member of the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team – 2 since 1999.
Dr. Otto is a board-certified emergency and critical care veterinarian and a tenured associate professor of Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine and was named Pennsylvania’s 2002 “Veterinarian of the Year” and received an Alumni Recognition Award in 2006 and the OSU Distinguished Alumus Award in 2008 from the Ohio State University.
She is involved in dog sports (flyball, agility, and tricks), and also provides pet therapy in the Philadelphia area, with her rescued Bichon mix, Dolce.
USAR Veterinary Group – 2007
Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team Board 2010
US Special Operations Command Committee on Canine Tactical-Combat Casualty Care 2010
Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthoganol Detector Guidelines 2011
Advisory Committee for The Center for Animal and Human Relationships (CENTAUR) VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine 2012
Search Dog Foundation Canine Veterinary Working Group 2012
Finding One Courage Beyond Measure
Hand2Paw – Board member 2012
YAP – Youth Ambassador working dog Program Board Member 2012
Walking over the bridge onto Gray’s Ferry, I did not know what to expect. I had never really ventured this way in my four years here. But, I walked in the door and knew that this is where I wanted to spend as much of my time as possible this year. The puppies were so small, so cute and so excited to see me even though we had never met. I was thrown right into volunteer work: taking the dogs on walks, learning the proper commands, working with the veterinary students, giving baths – anything you could think of in a dog training facility, I did right off the bat. The more in-depth search and rescue training came along as the puppies grew. I would hide, waiting for the pup to rescue me from a closet or a cabinet. It has been incredible to watch their progress in searches, agility, obedience and more. While working here a few times a week, I started to build stronger relationships with these future working dogs.
It’s been just about eight months now. The class has grown from seven to twelve active trainees. With only two short weeks left, I can’t even imagine what my life is going to be like when I go home. I won’t be able to take a break from school work and be showered with love from twelve talented and delightful puppies. I won’t be able to watch how quickly Socks retrieves her hide or how Jake is improving on the agility course. I will miss even more the way Morgan lays down when I walk in for a belly rub. And I will miss the amazing people I have met here, the committed trainers who are working on such a noble and exciting project. It has been an unbelievable experience here. Penn Vet Working Dog Center – thank you for a great way to end my four years at Penn. I look forward to coming back and hearing all the remarkable things the graduated puppies have accomplished. I am happy to know that I had a hand in their development and eventual success. Every day has been different and unexpected but I always leave with a smile on my face.]]>
This site was designed for use by everyone who participates in the treatment of pet animals with cancer, including pet owners, general practice veterinarians, and oncologists and other specialty veterinarians. Information is provided to inform both private practice and academic veterinarians, and to promote accrual for the timely completion of clinical trials while providing state-of-the-art treatment options for pets with cancer.
Visit the site to find cancer trails http://www.vetcancertrials.org/]]>
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Hound
Handler: Stephanie Walsh-Bunny