UPDATE 07/03/23

SAR Dingo Lola has embarked on her final greatest journey. She was the Australian alpine dingo that served as an ambassador to her species, asking people to protect her wild cousins and stop the slaughter in her homeland. She had been diagnosed with leukemia recently and, despite our best efforts, was unable to put it into remission. We chose to say goodbye on 07/03/23 surrounded by people who loved her dearly.
Born accidentally in the United States. her mother was rescued while pregnant. At eight weeks old she came to live with our Executive Director as an ambassador for the sanctuary. Over the years she did many educational programs, outreach programs, and defied all preconceived beliefs of her abilities.
At only three months of age Lola started training for Search and Rescue with a local team. She was naturally drawn to human scent and easily caught on to what was being asked of her. The challenges came in how we trained her (primitive breeds respond and think differently than more traditional domestic breeds used) and how she was rewarded. She wouldn’t work for toy rewards. She would take food (sometimes) but would also reject it at times. Lola was her own dingo and never failed to train or work when asked by her partner and handler. It was a true partnership built from trust and unconditional love.
Lola was, as far as we know, the only Australian dingo to ever receive her AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate, FLECA Human Remains Detection (HRD) certification, NNCDS land HRD and water HRD certifications. Lola trained for over nine years and was the only nationally certified HRD dingo, but she was so much more. Never over excited, even boring to watch work. She was very meticulous and diligent in how she cleared an area she was searching. She attended many workshops over the years and was trained to alert on all forms of human remains including blood, tissue, organs, clean bone, cremains, mummified, liquified, and whole body. We share this not to be morbid, but to raise awareness of how incredible all of the working SAR dogs are and what is expected of them and their handlers in all terrains and weather.
Lola dingo was raised with Morgan coyote. He was a month older and would bully her a little until one day she had enough and sat on him! She had a unique way of walking calmly into any situation and assessing, then taking control of it. Photographed for Curious Critters (David Fitzsimmons) as a representative of her species, she will live on educating children for years to come.
Her daily companions Bobo the husky (who lovingly cleaned her eyes as she aged) and Seger the singer will miss her tremendously. We are heartbroken for our loss as staff and volunteers have said too many farewells lately, but honored to have known Lola and so many other special souls.




How did an Australian Dingo come to be in Florida…AND in rescue? It’s simple…people! Six pups were sent from a Dingo Recovery program to the United States. Two ended up with a couple in Florida. The man had come from Australia and wanted some of his homeland it seems. Dingoes are the wild dog of Australia like the wolf or coyote and are generally treated as a “nuisance” animal. Highly intelligent, they grow to only about 45 lbs.

They allowed the pups to breed and then had problems with law enforcement due to not following captive wildlife laws. Dingoes require Class III FWC permits and special containment in Florida. Well a lot happened in their lives in that next year and the short of it is that another rescuer got a call that six dingoes needed placement. Shy Wolf Sanctuary had originally planned on taking two but had since filled our habitats, mostly with coyotes. So a rescuer from NC came down and picked them up. That’s when she found out one of the girls was pregnant. Six pups were born but only three survived.


The original home that was lined up for this very special girl fell through and Deanna (volunteer & Board of Directors member) was called to see if she would personally adopt the pup. While not activiely seeking a pup, and quite happy with her existing pack, she saw the benefits to having a different canine species as an ambassador to the sanctuary. It was especially enticing since the pup would be more likely to WANT to go to events, unlike our other animals.


Lola has made herself at home wherever she goes, as the pictures show, and is even showing an aptitude for Search and Rescue (SAR) training. Who knows? Shy Wolf Sanctuary may be the first to have a certified SAR Dingo ready to respond at the drop of a hat! In the meantime she loves playing with her coyote friend Morgan and climbing up onto anything she can possibly climb onto…including your head if you sit close enough to her.


2016:  Lola did it!  She is officially certified in Florida as a SAR canine volunteer for human remains. Lola and her handler, Shy Wolf Sanctuary President, Deanna Deppen, were deployed on a mission their first week.

Lola was officially certified in Human Remains Detection through Florida Law Enforcement K9 Association (FLECA) and deployed on a search the first week after. She’s quite probably the first-ever CGC and HRD certified Australian Dingo!


2018: Lola continues to train in HRD and needs to retake certification exams every 1-2 years. We started Lola down this path to keep her busy and give her something to challenge her mind. Both have been very successful!

Learn about Lola’s certification.

Listen to Lola trill