SAR Canine Team Certification

Dingo Lola and Belgian Tervuren Cole pass Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association’s Basic Cadaver Certification.

Congratulations to two of our volunteers for successfully challenging and passing the Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association’s (FLECA) Basic Cadaver Certification! FLECA primarily certifies law enforcement canines, but is expanding into Search and Rescue (SAR).  Lola the Dingo and her handler, Deanna Deppen, and Denise Parker and her Belgian Tervuren, Cole, were officially certified on August 4th.

LolaLola is the only known certified SAR dingo who is also an American Kennel Club (AKC) certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC).  Both achievements are notable since Canis Dingo is still considered an undomesticated wild dog native to Australia.  The Dingo has lived closely with the Aboriginal people, but are much maligned in their homeland, just as the coyote is here in the United States.  Dingoes are persecuted, hunted, poisoned, trapped and banished, considered a “nuisance animal” by many.  A movement has started to change the common perception of the dingo and is working to educate and elevate opinions on this uniquely intelligent and adaptable species.

Deanna Deppen, President of Shy Wolf Sanctuary, stated that “Three years ago we started this journey to certification simply because Lola’s nose needed a job. She was constantly following her nose wherever it took her.”  It was an opportunity for Deppen to learn different and new aspects of canine behavior and training, while presenting an opportunity for Lola to be an ambassador, not only for the sanctuary, but also for her species.

Achieving certification on a state level took hundreds of hours of training and dedication.  When asked what the hardest task was on this path, Deppen stated Cole“Obedience. The biggest challenge for us was getting Lola to sit, down, or stay when asked to do so.  Imprinting her on the source or what she was looking for was simple compared to basic obedience. Her independent nature and ability to think for herself makes her less inclined to want to respond to commands, unlike more traditionally selected domestic dogs.” Teams consist of a dog and handler and are certified together. Once certified, the teams can be utilized by law enforcement agencies in a variety of cases and situations.

Lola specializes in Human Remains Detection looking for everything from bones to cremains. Training never ends, so both teams recently attended a workshop hosted by a SAR team in Manatee County. They will continue training and even plan to test with a national organization for additional certification.

Founder Nancy Smith stated “Shy Wolf Sanctuary is very proud of the dedication and commitment of our volunteers, not only when it comes to caring for our animals, but also in serving the community as a whole.”

You can meet Lola and her brother Kalo at For Footed Friends on October 22nd from 11AM to 2PM. Kalo is learning to trail living people, like lost children or Alzheimer’s patients who become lost, and hopes to become the second-ever certified SAR dingo. Come on by to meet the dingoes and some of their Shy Wolf friends. Guests will receive some prizes and possibly even dingo or wolfdog kisses!

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