Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Five Blue Collar Dogs, the Workers of the K-9 World...

By Madame Margherite

Granted most of us assign various tasks and chores to our pets such as bringing of the slippers, or fetching the ball, or my favorite, give mommy kisses, but let’s be honest these are not real jobs as convenient, entertaining and adorable as they may be. Real puppy occupations include truffle hunting, search and rescue, and track racing. In this breakdown, we’ll give praise to five pups that make improvements in our day to day lives on various levels.

Who says mixed mutts are good for nothing? Truffle dogs, the first on our list, will prove them wrong. A truffle is a very hard to find mushroom that can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 per pound, and the only way to find them is to use the snout of either a pig or a dog. Mixed breed dogs are ideal for this job because they tend to have a better sense of smell and less sinus complications than pure breeds. Also, dogs don’t care much for the taste of truffle mushrooms as opposed to pigs who love them. Once a truffle is located the finding dog will alert their supervisor and proceed to delicately dig up the rare fungi treasure for everyone to enjoy.

Our second mentions are of search and rescue dogs. German Shepherds are the usual breed for this job, but other breeds such as Boarder Collies or even Sheep dogs are sometimes used to assist police and firefighters in the wake of disaster. The heroic efforts of these SAR dogs were most glorified in the days following 9/11 when every single New York SAR dog was called to duty. These dogs spent days crawling in and out of tight spaces breathing in toxic fumes that would later take their lives for the sake of saving human lives. Unfortunately, not one of the SAR dogs at Ground Zero survived this final task, however they are greatly to thank for the survival of so many people who otherwise wouldn’t be with us today. A memorial for SAR Bravo was built here in NYC honoring the efforts of these amazing K-9s, and we will never forget their bravery.

Third on this list is another life saving dog, the St. Bernard also known as the Alpine Mastiff. These dogs are also used for search and rescue, but not in building collapses. These dogs specialize in saving travelers from avalanches and ice storms. The St. Bernard can smell a person buried deep beneath the snow, and their massive size makes it easy for them to dig up and drag out someone of any weight. Their thick fur and body heat allows them to warm a frost bitten body up simply by laying along side them while another St. Bernard runs back for help. These dogs work in packs, and have been known to have saved thousands of lives. And yes, they do really carry first aid packs around their necks.

Blue collar number four is the almighty herding dog. This is the job of bringing in cattle from the field back onto the farm. It’s usually done at milking time, the least favorite time of day for a cow, and is usually performed by a Boarder Collie. The reason being Boarder Collies, especially females, have an authoritative or commanding stare that intimidates the cattle. Go figure.

Finally, at number five we have a player, the sled dog, Alaskan malamute; another dog that does their job in the freezing cold without complaint. These dogs were originally used to pull or drag goods and people across town on sleds. But with technology came vehicles that can more efficiently transport these goods and so these dogs now put their strength to the test on frigid race tracks. Dogsled racing is an extremely popular sport in northern regions of the world where Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies race along side each other dragging a sled through an elaborate frozen trail. First one to the finish line is a good dog!

There you have it, five blue collar dogs that make the rest of the mutts seem lazy. Although we have named specific breeds to perform specific jobs and tasks, K-9s have proved to be extremely versatile. With the right amount of patience, and a little professional training any dog can be taught how to work for their keep. Even if that “work” means to roll over, or fetch the stick. Until next time, be good to your dog, and your dog will be good to you.


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