I didn’t know this about high-energy dogs, the fact that they are the ones most dumped because they are just too much work but I guess it makes sense, not that they are abandoned, but why. They just demand too much from owners that don’t, won’t or can’t do what’s necessary with a dog that requires more than just a lap to lay in.

Thousands of shelter dogs are deemed unadoptable and are put down because they are too high-energy for their owners. Fortunately there are programs out there that teach shelters and rescuers how to identify dogs that are candidates for service work and these dogs are proving that even with questionable parentage and unknown history that they are well-suited for a life as a service dog.

It’s hard to believe that  someone could give up a dog for this reason because my high-energy dog keeps me healthy and active. He knows how to nudge my hand away from the computer when it’s time to go chase a frisbee, so I smile, hit the save button, and off we go.  

Reading an article in USA Today I discovered that someone is doing something about this dilemma and at the same time discovering that some of these high-intensity dogs might be candidates for service jobs such as search and rescue. A dog doesn’t have to have impeccable breeding to be talented and hard-working.

Sherry Woodward, an animal-behavior expert at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah has helped hundreds of dogs go from shelters to search and service jobs, spending time with a search-and-rescue handler to learn about the traits that indicate that a dog is a good candidate.

Her current project, Ollie, a border collie mix, was abandoned by his owners with a note saying that he was a wonderful and loving dog but they just couldn’t deal with the fact that he needed lots of exercise and attention. I have a few words I would like to say to these people but Sherry did better than that and got him adopted.

Other groups like Sherry’s that are rescuing “throwaways”, groups such as Freedom Service Dogs, a program that places about 20 service dogs a year, all rescued or donated. The Search Dog Foundation which has trained firefighters for disaster search work, matching them with service dogs.  All of these groups have discovered that shelter dogs have what it takes to make excellent service dogs. The bottom line is that these programs save lives. I applaud them for their efforts and ask our readers to visit their websites and donate what they can so that this work can continue.

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