Meet our retired Conservation Canines.
This page is dedicated to Moja – The first scat detection dog trained by the Center for Conservation Biology. Moja’s ground-breaking work proved the scat detection dog concept, opening a whole new noninvasive approach to conservation biology: Dogs rescued from animal shelters provide some of the most comprehensive sampling of ecosystems to date. Moja’s legacy has allowed our center to build a program that now includes twelve resident Conservation Canines and many more detection dogs working for other programs around the world.
Moja served on the grizzly and black bear project in Alberta, Canada and as program ambassador for many years. He appeared in numerous magazine and newspaper articles and was featured twice on Discover.Canada. Moja eventually retired, living happily as the beloved pet of our center director. Sadly, Moja died of heart failure in the summer of 2006. However, his legacy lives on.
All of the dogs in our program have been instrumental to our success. We become closely bonded to them long before their tenure is through. Upon retirement, we find them comfortable homes, usually with a former handler that appreciates their high-energy level even at retirement age. Our retired colleagues are shown below.
Gator, an Australian Cattle dog, worked for Conservation Canines from 2001 – 2007. He passed up a promising career in narcotic detection work for life in the great outdoors. Gator worked on a number of studies including Jasper, Vermont, and Brazil. He retired at the age of 10 and is happily living with his buddy, Heath.
Mocha began working for the Conservation Canine program in 2005 after she was not offered a position with the Police Department. While her specific breed is unknown, she is thought to be a cattle dog/shepherd/doberman mix, and posses the wonderful temperaments of all three breeds! Mocha and her handler, Lindsay Madden, were one of the first canine-handler teams on the California Fisher project back in 2006. Shortly after returning from her second Fisher project season, Mocha retired from CK9s in early 2008 and now lives with her original handler, Lindsay and Lindsay’s Husband, Jacob. Mocha currently spends hours in front of a warm fireplace and has countless toys to choose from on a daily basis. Mocha’s instantaneous bond and working relationship with her handler inspired Lindsay to pursue her current work as a PhD Student at Washington State University. Lindsay is researching the mutual benefits of human-animal interactions specifically between troubled youth and shelter dogs. ~Lindsay
Ally is a chocolate Labrador mix and worked for Conservation Canines from 2005-2008. She came to us from the Howling Ridge Animal Rescue in Eastern WA. Ally began her career in Alberta, Canada. From there, Ally joined our team in the Brazillian Cerrado and then returned to Alberta in 2007. She retired at the age of 9 and is now living in Montana with her handler and good friend, Julie.
Frehley came to our program from the Seattle Animal Shelter in 2005. When he arrived, he was emaciated and neurotic – bringing with him a nervous tic where he would chase his paws. The only thing that would get his attention away was playing with his favorite toy. Slowly, he gained more confidence and “normalcy” through working. Frehley started out in our matching program where he would match scats to the individual within a population. After showing a great aptitude for this, he was sent to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California to search for fisher scats. He ended up being one of our main fisher scat-finding dogs and surveyed for them in many locations in both California and Oregon for parts of 7 years. Frehley was also one of our dogs searching for the elusive Jemez Mountain Salamander in New Mexico. In addition, Frehley was the hit of his handler’s wedding as he brought the ring down the aisle. Frehley retired from the Conservation Canines in the fall of 2013 and is currently living in Ohio with his former handler (and wife) and his best buddy Steven. He spends his days sleeping on the couch and playing with his frisbee or anything else you can pick up.~ Bud
Gabby came to Conservation Canines in 2009. She worked hard during her training sessions and quickly won over all of the handlers with her sweet personality and affectionate nature. While she did not succeed as a CK9, Gabby underwent training as a narcotics dog with Department of Corrections. There she thrived and was soon placed in western Washington as a permanent member of a K9 team! We are thrilled that she is happy and has found such a great place to work.
Isis was adopted by Dave in the early Fall of 2006. During summer months, Isis has become the “official” dog of the Center for Whale Research (CWR) on San Juan Island where she provides much needed dog fixes for the staff. While she has gone out on the boat with the CWR to see orcas, she usually just waits patiently on “her” sofa at CWR to greet the staff when they get home. Isis is quite the charmer and she often gets a “Oh, you’re cute!” when people first meet her. She’s so sweet she even wags her tail in her sleep! At home, she lives like a queen and her stuffed animals cover the floor. We enjoy long walks all over San Juan Island when the weather and whales permit. Isis’s favorite thing to do in the evenings is to snuggle with her people on the couch. Photo credit Traci Walter. ~Dave
Shrek and Lulu
Shrek is a Chocolate Labrador-Retriever mix and worked on wolf, caribou, moose, and spotted owl projects. Lulu is an Australian Shepherd and worked on Sierra Nevada red fox and spotted owl projects. They both came to the program in the spring of 2008 and retired to live with their handler, Jodi. Shrek and Lulu have a brotherly-sisterly love-hate relationship. They like to steal each other’s toys and affection but, when it comes down to it, they prefer play time with one another over any other dog. When they aren’t backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas (Shrek likes to carry their food in his doggie-pack), they like to hang at home. They spend their time swimming in the pond, picking (and eating!) apples and berries, and helping mom in the garden. ~Jodi
Sheila (now Sheba) is a border collie/cattle dog mix who retired to Eugene in 2008. While she was quite the rascal at first, with a lot of love, patience and the right training collar she quickly formed a bond with her human companion that will last several lifetimes. Sheba’s favorite activities include cross-country skiing (especially when she gets to break trail), muddy trail runs, chasing the ball, and cleaning out peanut butter jars. She is also one of the best companions for an afternoon nap! She is looking forward to the day she can move closer to her cousin, retired CK9 Mason. ~Stacy
Sasha is a Husky mix who worked on the bear project in Montana in 2009. She came to Conservation Canines from WAIF Animal Shelter on Whidbey Island in 2008. Sasha now lives in downtown Portland, Maine with her best friend Olive the Pug! She loves to chase and be chased—no other dogs can keep up with her pace and tricky jumping maneuvers! She is super affectionate, eager to please, and surprisingly mellow around the house. Her favorite things to do are: swim, play ball, chase frogs around the pond, run as fast as she can in deep snow, and go to the beach. ~Amanda
Orion travelled the through South America and across the United States seeking endangered species scat for Conservation Canines. Like all the dogs with CK9, he was chosen from a shelter because he was smart and totally loved playing with a tennis ball. Due to his relentless search for scat and his exuberance during his playtime with the ball, he was often the dog of choice to train new dog handlers for CK9s. For if you could handle Orion, you could handle any of their dogs! Orion was retired several years ago and went to live out his final days with his new owner in Central Oregon. He never gave up his love of racing after a tennis ball or scampering through the woods! He will be remembered for many reasons but also because he taught me, that miracles do happen and love does conquer all. He will be sorely missed! ~Christine