Four-month-old Mila went on a field trip to visit our friends at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) last Friday! SDF is a national nonprofit that recruits dogs from shelters across the country and trains them to be search and rescue dogs. They look specifically for young, high-energy breeds that demonstrate tenacity, boldness, and an excessive toy drive. While Mila didn't quite have what it takes to become a search dog, she still had a blast visiting the SDF campus and meeting their staff!
The energetic Belgian Malinois puppy sparked the interest of SDF's Canine Recruitment Manager, Sylvia Stoney, and Canine Recruitment Outreach Manager, Katie Brennan, during their recent visit to the HSVC. Sylvia and Katie were at the shelter to evaluate a different dog at our shelter when they spied Mila. The pair went into a play yard with the young pup and quickly noticed Mila's obsession with her favorite toy. This behavior prompted Katie and Sylvia to invite Mila to the SDF campus in Santa Paula for further evaluation.
Above left: Mila enjoys the view from her first-ever golf cart ride around SDF's campus. Above right: Mila gets evaluated by SDF's canine training staff.
Senior Humane Officer King (above left) and Media and Marketing Coordinator Amy King (above right) accompanied Mila on her adventure to SDF's National Training Center (NTC). The friendly Belgian Malinois was handed off to SDF's canine training staff for a series of evaluations in hopes of seeing the same toy drive Katie and Sylvia witnessed at the shelter. However, Mila was more interested in being friends with the SDF staff than playing with toys.
After Mila's evaluation, the ladies were given a tour of the SDF campus. SDF's 125-acre property is home to specially designed kennels, handlers' accommodations, classrooms, staff offices, and beginner and advanced training areas. The NTC also features large-area rubble piles, collapsed structures, train and vehicle wrecks, and wilderness ravines. These courses offer an infinite variety of challenging scenarios for canine candidates to explore and conquer.
Despite the outcome, we are so thankful to SDF and their staff for giving Mila a chance and hosting us at their facility! We look forward to collaborating with their organization more in the future!
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