Naperville shelter dog accepted into search and rescue program

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Meet Brutus. The two-year-old American cattle dog has been living at the Naperville Area Humane Society (NAHS) since August, but his life is about to change.

Becoming a search and rescue dog

“Brutus is going off to an organization in California that train search and rescue dogs for fire departments, and they specifically pull shelter dogs, which is pretty exciting. So, after all the videos that we submitted for him, he was accepted into the program,” said Kristen Funk, executive director at the Naperville Area Humane Society.

The Search Dog Foundation is a nonprofit group that looks for high-energy, brave, and friendly dogs as candidates, making Brutus a perfect fit.

This is the first time that a dog from the NAHS has been accepted into a search and rescue program. And Brutus couldn’t have done it without the help of his trainers.

Brutus’s training staff

“So, we have two fantastic trainers on staff here, and JoAnne in particular works with dogs that showed any type of drive for agility work. Brutus, in specific was really driven by the tennis ball. So she noticed that right away and just started spending time with him. And then it kind of led to more in-depth time seeing how he really was with that,” said Funk.

Once in the program, he’ll spend about nine months in training, then be paired with a handler for months of bonding, and more training until getting certified.

Brutus hops on a plane next Monday to make his way to the West Coast to start the process. It’s quite the move up, for this pup, who was found as a stray in southern Illinois… a dog who was rescued, now, ready to do some rescuing of his own.

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