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Sep 22 2015

A Zebra mussel sniffing dog!

From John Preuss…

A busy sumer on Minnesota’s lakes and rivers  the spread of zebra mussels. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports they found zebra mussels in at least eight new lakes this summer. Whether you’re launching or leaving the water, the search for zebra mussels is now part of the boating culture. At boat launch check points, DNR conservation officer Julie Siems doesn’t rely on just the naked eye to scan boats. She has a more powerful tool. “He’s a zebra mussel detector dog” DNR Conservation officer Julie Siems said. Brady is one of two zebra mussel sniffing dogs used by the DNR and trained solely to detect that small shell-like creature. “To them, it’s just a game. They’re trained like any other narcotics dog. They’re just a detection dog,” Officer Siems said.

Using his nose as his guide, the lab-mix quickly scans boats and trailers going in and out of Lake Independence on Saturday morning. Brady sniffed out Dave Sanders’ canoe before he put it in the water. “I would imagine they’re a lot more accurate. I imagine he can find more than you can visually see,” Dave Sanders of New Hope said. At Lake Independence, Brady found no threats to the water. But when Julie purposely hid the target in her boat, the scent of invasive species pulled Brady in the right direction. Any time he detects a zebra mussel, he sits near the location. “I believe him. Every time he sits, I trust him,” Officer Siems said. For a job well done, he’s rewarded in a way only a dog can appreciate. “He gets his ball, it’s all he wants,” Officer Siems said. Using dogs may be faster and more efficient as boats come and go in the fight against zebra mussels, but when invasive species education is key to prevention, that’s where Julie sees Brady’s real impact. “They want to talk to me. They want to pet the dog. They want to know the dog’s job,” said Officer Siems.