Angus' Journey - Thank You Search Dog Foundation

One-year-old Angus was brought to the HSVC as a stray in early August. A handsome black Lab/Retriever mix, Angus loved playing with toys and running around in our agility yard. It was as if the peppy pup had endless amounts of energy! After noticing Angus’ high toy drive, a staff member contacted our friends at Search Dog Foundation (SDF) located in Santa Paula to see if he might be a good fit for their program. SDF is a national organization that recruits and trains rescue dogs and then partners them with firefighters and first responders.

We were thrilled to welcome Sylvia Stoney, SDF’s Director of Canine Recruitment, to the shelter in Ojai for a meet and greet with Angus. Sylvia spent time with Angus in our agility yard and performed a quick assessment to see if he had some of the qualities SDF looks for in their trainees. One of these qualities is an innate toy drive, as SDF uses toys as a reward when the dog completes a task. Angus passed the toy drive test with flying colors. What can we say, our boy loves toys!

Sylvia also accessed Angus’s nerve strength and agility. She did this by running him through a couple of the obstacles we have in our agility yard. According to Sylvia, potential canine candidates need to possess solid nerve strength both environmentally and with their footing on uneven surfaces. This is because often times when out in the field the dog is faced with navigating through rubble and other uneven surfaces. Angus proved to be very agile after being led up and down our ramps and balance beam bridges without hesitation.

After passing the first round of assessments, Sylvia took Angus to the SDF campus to test his skills further. The SDF staff conducted a full performance evaluation on Angus to see if he had what it takes to be a search dog. The evaluation consisted of several tests including a hunting test both on the ground and on a rubble pile as well as a temperament test to see how Angus reacted to meeting new people and other dogs.


While Angus passed the initial toy drive test, it seemed he was more interested in making new friends at SDF than passing his other evaluations. Though he was not meant to be a search dog, Angus will still find his perfect forever home through SDF’s Lifetime Care Program. He has been working with SDF trainers to strengthen his obedience, good citizen, and social skills. Angus has the potential to be an awesome family pet and adventure buddy. However, due to his energetic and friendly personality, his forever home will need to be with a family that can provide him with a consistent, structured environment. In return, Angus will shower you in kisses, cuddles, and lots of love!

Anyone interested in making Angus a part of their family can learn more about him by visiting SDF’s website. We are so proud of how far our handsome boy has come and look forward to seeing him continue to grow in his forever home!

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  • Amy King
    published this page in Latest News 2020-10-22 14:11:58 -0700