Monday, December 5, 2011

Six Small Dogs with Big Jobs

By Linda Cole

Small dogs aren't usually the ones who take on herding jobs, and they generally aren't considered good search and rescue dogs. However, small dogs are proving they have the tenacity and ability to take on big jobs. There's even one small dog who has the right stuff for searching out and finding ghosts.

Jack is a Cairn terrier and a personal trainer. With his owner and certified personal trainer, Dawn Celapino, owner of Leash Your Fitness in San Diego, CA, Jack is helping other dog owners and their dogs get into a healthy lifestyle through exercise. Dawn's unique exercise class teaches clients to use their dogs as their exercise partner. She started her business after she discovered Jack was the perfect workout partner and it was a good a way to spend more time with him. Dawn has developed a fun exercise program that helps dog owners stay in shape and allows even the most hyper dogs a good way of using up excess energy. She encourages her clients to bring their dogs, even ones with behavior problems, and has enlisted the help of dog trainers who help owners with their dogs. Agility and obedience training are incorporated into the class.

Bevy, a Corgi, is owned by Scott Wiley from Musselshell, Montana. When she was born, her mom didn't have enough milk to feed Bevy and her siblings so they had to be bottle fed. Bevy, the runt of the litter, only weighs around 22 pounds, but she has the desire and heart of any good herding dog. Corgis were bred to herd, and Scott depends on Bevy and his three other Corgis to help him round up and manage 300 herd of cattle.

Buddy is an incredible Chihuahua ambassador for the Rancho de Chihuahua Dog Sanctuary, a nonprofit rescue in northern New Mexico for small special needs and homeless Chi's. Some of the dogs are old, blind, deaf or inflicted with other disabilities. As the pack's leader, Buddy is a small dog that has taken on the big job of making sure each dog is safe and accounted for. The sanctuary recreated the type of environment the dogs evolved in to help reduce their stress and allow them to live happier and healthier lives despite their disabilities.

Pixie, a 10 year old Jack Russell terrier, sees ghosts. She lives with her owner, Peggy, in Hatfield, PA and is part of the Ghost Tours of America research team. According to Peggy, dogs are able to sense when a ghost is around. The Ghost Tours of America is an organization that was started by Peggy six years ago to share true ghost stories from the area. Pixie's job is to visit local sites and verify if there's any paranormal activity. Pickering Creek Inn located in Phoenixville, PA is reported to be haunted, and if you visit the area in search of ghosts, you may find what you're looking for in the most haunted borough in Pennsylvania.

Snickers is a search and rescue beagle. We normally think of larger dogs doing this tough job, but Snickers and his owner, Pam Medhurst would disagree. They are volunteer members for the San Diego Sheriff's Search and Rescue Canine Unit. Snickers does his job so well he was given an honorary title from the department and is fondly called Sgt. Snickers. One advantage to using a small dog in search and rescue is his handler can carry him over rough terrain and transport him easier. Plus, when he finds a lost person, he's isn't as intimidating as a larger dog. Snickers first rescue was an autistic boy named Jahi Turner. During that search, Snickers quickly impressed a bloodhound handler who was surprised by his unique ability as a SAR. In 2009, Snickers was awarded the American Kennel Club ACE Award – Honorable Mention for his outstanding work.

Tikka is a mixed breed small dog that lives with her owner, Angela Casey. Angela teaches the third grade at Lafayette Elementary School in San Francisco, CA and Tikka helps teach her students who are afraid of dogs to overcome their fear. Tikka was adopted by Angela from a local shelter where she had been placed on a list of dogs considered to be unadoptable. After working with Tikka to properly socialize her, Angela and Tikka have been teaching kids about responsible dog ownership as they learn to trust dogs. Smaller dogs are more approachable for children and not as intimidating. Kids who come from non pet owning families don't relate as well to a dog and many find them scary. Angela's goal is to teach one child at a time the joy being around dogs. Tikka has been an excellent dog ambassador to help kids learn how to interact with canines.

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. Those are some great stories. It is fun to hear about little tykes that can do important jobs. And they all sound like they do their job really well. Have a great afternoon.

  2. You should do some writing on service dogs, especially those that help people with "invisible disabilities."

  3. Those dogs were great and I know for sure that they are 100% percent being cared and loved by their owners.

  4. So inspiring! I love these stories, they make me smile! Thanks :)


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