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Flying Colors: From California Stray to Search Dog Trainee

Cleo's First Few MonthsYou may not know this but my dog Cleo was surrendered to a shelter in Northern California. We never would have met if the shelter hadn't contacted the San Francisco SPCA, and told them how great she was.

We never could have had these past seven years together, showing off her talent and cuteness on this website, her if she hadn't passed with flying colors all of the tests the SF-SPCA gave her.

They were her advocate, and gave her a chance at performing the role she was made for -- that of Grouchy Puppy muse.

Meet Lilah, another former shelter dog

In January 2011, the National Search Dog Foundation (SDF) received a call from volunteer Andrea Bergquist (whose husband Chris is a handler with Sacramento Task Force 7), letting them know that she had discovered an excellent Search Dog candidate at the Sacramento SPCA.

SDF - image from api.ning.com
Lilah and Marshia Hall

Lilah, a one year-old Black Lab, had been picked up as a stray by the shelter. Suffering from kennel cough and described as “friendly but skinny,” She was evaluated by Andrea for search and rescue work. Lilah passed with flying colors and was transported down south to begin her training.

SDF - Lilah image from api.ning.com
Meet Lilah: From Sacramento, CA Stray to Search Dog Trainee

Like Cleo, Lilah is given a second chance

Lilah quickly completed training and was partnered with Florida Task Force 4 handler Marshia Hall in August 2011. Marshia and her “wild child,” as she affectionately calls Lilah, are now working toward State Urban Search and Rescue (SUSAR) Certification and hope to become deployment-ready soon.

Lilah is the SDF dog of the month!

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation offers professionally-trained dogs to help firefighters and other first responders find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. The Nutro Company has been supporting SDF for more than ten years. They are the exclusive pet food partner to SDF, and has pledged to donate $1 million to the non-profit through 2016.

Always a loving home

Not every dog will become an official search dog, and actually only about 1 in 10 dogs will complete the program. However, the highly trained dogs that don't make the program, will have the folks at SDF searching to find a loving home for them. You can see all the currently available former SDF dogs on Petfinder.


To learn more:

Follow the National Diseaster Search Dog Foundation on Facebook | Visit the SDF website |  Follow SDF on Twitter


This post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member and sponsored by the Nutro Company.

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