Purina® Pet Nutrition E—Newsletter


Discovered at an animal shelter, Moses, or Dunder the Search Dog as he's also called, has something in common with the people he searches for as a FEMA Certified Search Dog—the need to be rescued. Born in December 2007, Moses was living at the Animal Rescue League in Ankeny, Iowa by the following spring. He had been fostered by several search and rescue dog homes before coming to live with his current owner, Robin Habeger, the executive director of Paws of Life. Moses and Robin went through their first training with the FEMA Task Force from Missouri the day after Moses moved in and haven't stopped since.

Paws of Life is a non-profit organization that educates, coaches and provides working dogs to K9 handlers across the nation.

"I got my first dog Talyn about 10 years ago, and being a Border Collie, he needed a job. It was either buy sheep or find something else to do," joked Robin. "I started looking around and happened to find a search and rescue team. It's turned into something that I really like to do, and I and a few other search and rescue dog handlers founded Paws of Life on the way back from a training seminar in Chicago in 2002."

Paws of Life typically works with K9 search and rescue handlers but occasionally provides training opportunities for law enforcement and other working canine disciplines. The handlers and dogs that make up the search and rescue teams that Paws of Life works with help locate people like lost hunters, hikers, bikers, wilderness recreational enthusiasts, drowning victims, abducted children and disoriented elderly people who wander away from their care facility.

They focus on education through the Working Canine Handler Academy, the first online training academy for working canine handlers through a partnership with Iowa State University Extension. They also offer educational seminars and mentoring programs as well as a 'by request' canine placement program.

Paws of Life has no full time staff, so any marketing, program development, or seminar coordination is done when Robin's not working at her full-time job as a development officer for Iowa State University Foundation.

An energized yellow Lab, Golden Retriever mix, Moses' potential was quickly identified in the temperament and drive evaluation, the initial test that helps determine whether a dog possesses the instincts required to become a search and rescue dog.

Typically it takes about 18 months to get a dog trained to the basic level, but can be longer depending on the dog. Training focuses on using toys to motivate dogs to search.

"We try and pick dogs that are toy motivated because that motivation can actually drive them harder than something like food or prey," said Robin. "Dogs with a toy drive overcome stressors in order to get their toy. Moses' reward is to play tug with me or the person he finds."

Moses has FEMA Type 1 Canine Search Dog, NASAR Type 1 Area Search Canine and AKC CGC certifications. For the NASAR Type 1 test Moses had to find two subjects within a 160 acre search area in four hours during daylight and one subject in an 80 acre area in 1.5 hours at night.

"We did that all in the same 24 hours, at an elevation we aren't used to working," said Robin. "It was in the California mountains and being from the cornfields of Iowa, it was definitely an added challenge.

Over the past three years, Moses traveled to 20 states to attend trainings, teach at seminars or attempt a certification.

"I'm thinking he might need his own frequent flier card," joked Robin. "He's flown to Texas twice this year alone."

Moses eats Infinia® Bison & Potato Recipe that Robin gets at her local Purina dealer, Brekke's Town & Country Store in Nevada, Iowa.

"I picked Infinia® Recipe because Moses is chicken intolerant," said Robin. "The Bison & Potato Recipe has the appropriate level of protein and no chicken meal or grain in the ingredients, which can be an allergen for some dogs. Moses and I just recently passed our FEMA level operational certification in Texas. There are less than 300 dogs in the nation that currently have this certification, so the food he is on is crucial. We went from 40 degree Iowa weather and tested on a day when it was close to 90 degrees in Texas."

Moses and Robin deploy with the STAR 1 Search and Rescue in Iowa, the Iowa Task Force 1 based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the Nebraska Task Force 1 based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In Moses' second real search operation and his first at night, he found an 86-year-old Alzheimer's patient that had walked off from his care facility. When released into his search area, Moses followed his nose, which led him in the complete opposite direction. He ended up finding the man lying in a drainage ditch, ultimately saving his life.

For Paws of Life, Moses' story isn't out of the ordinary. Many of the dogs they use come from animal shelters.

"If we didn't try and home them, they most likely would be put down because they would make very poor pets," said Robin.

The dogs that make good search dogs are ones that are busy, constantly wanting to play with their toys and show little fear, climbing fences and going over, around and through things many other dogs would stay away from. Out of 10 dogs, only one or two have the qualities and traits required to be a FEMA search and rescue dog right off the bat.

Moses received his alias, Dunder the Search Dog, two years ago when Paul Faust who runs 1800Prepare.com, a company that provides survival and emergency kits and emergency preparedness information, called Robin and wanted to recognize search and rescue dogs. Paul had just done a cameo on "The Office" television show as "Cool Guy Paul," and wanted to use that experience to leverage some recognition for search and rescue dogs by having a dog named "Dunder," after Dunder Mifflin, the paper company that television show is about. Paul and Robin even thought about having another dog come on as Mifflin so they could be Dunder and Mifflin, the Search Dogs.

For more information about Moses or Paws of life visit www.pawsoflife.org.

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PET TIPS | Flea & Tick Prevention

Spring is here, and it's time to make sure your pets are protected against the onslaught of fleas and ticks that arrives with the warm weather. Fleas and ticks are especially abundant in humid areas and can inflict misery on you and your pet.

  • Fleas multiply fast! One flea can produce 600 offspring in just one month.
  • Ticks spread diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Fleas can cause serious skin problems. Flea allergy dermatitis is the number-one cause of incessant scratching, hair loss, broken skin, and even anemia in dogs. Feeding soy-, wheat- or corn-free foods will not solve the problem when the allergic reaction is to fleas, not a feed ingredient. However, a food rich in the right essential fatty acids will help the skin resist damage and heal more quickly in the event of a flea attack.
  • Risk varies with climate, location, and the places your dog has access to. An apartment-bound city dog is less likely to be exposed than a suburban dog running through tall grasses and wooded areas.
  • Speed of treatment counts. Don't just treat your pet! Fleas quickly infest carpets, pillows, and clothing, and there are many products available to rid your home of these pests. There are even products to kill fleas and ticks in your yard. Ticks will embed in anything that has flesh, including you and your children! Act as soon as you spot a flea or tick on your pet. Preventive action is even better!
  • Toxicity of flea and tick prevention products has declined greatly over the years. New products are quite safe, leaving no reason not to protect your pet.
  • While some people advocate a holistic approach (such as diet change or herbs) to flea and tick prevention, the real warriors in this campaign are chemicals. There are many over-the-counter topical applications that are very effective. Shampoos can also be of great service in the war on ticks and fleas. The bottom line is there is no reason for your pet to suffer from fleas and ticks!
The season is upon us, so ready your arsenal, treat your pet, and enjoy the spring and summer!

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GET TO KNOW | Infinia® Bison & Potato Recipe

Infinia® Bison & Potato Recipe is a holistic nutritional formula that is grain-free and perfect for maintenance in adult dogs. With its flavorful superfoods and savory, natural bison as the number one ingredient, there's no room or need for unnecessary fillers. Infinia® Recipe knows no boundaries, and all the ingredients inside each bag work together for your pet's health and well-being, supporting healthy digestive systems, active bodies and beautiful coats.

  • Antioxidants—from sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, berries and added vitamins and minerals to aid the immune system
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids—from salmon and canola oil to help keep your dog's coat shiny and skin soft
  • Fiber—from chicory root and microbials like those found in yogurt to help maintain a balanced digestive system
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin—the building blocks of healthy joints and cartilage
Savory, natural bison and protein-rich lamb meal, blended with select ingredients including salmon oil, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, kelp and parsley – chockfull of vitamins and minerals – together supporting immunity, vitality and longevity.

Available Product Sizes
NET WT. 30 LB (13.60 kg)
NET WT. 15 LB (6.80 kg)
NET WT. 5 LB (2.26 kg)

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