Teenage boy with 3 sister puppies

Alfred, Maine,
08:00 AM

The Tail of Three Sisters

From Puppies to Professionals

Career paths can take unplanned twists and turns…for canines too.

This was the case for three sisters – Duchess, Darby and Pearl. Paws with a Cause (PAWS) bred the sisters to be Assistance Dogs.Puppies can be service dogs, seizure response dogs, or hearing dogs

The road to careers for the adorable, feisty sisters began with separation at eight weeks and placement in loving foster homes for a year.

The pups were homeschooled to learn basic commands, tasks and obedience. They got to show off their skills to their friends in weekly classes at PAWS. But, it was not all work, there was plenty of time to play for the high energy siblings.

PAWS happy puppy

As they approached their second birthdays, the girls returned together at PAWS for more training. They worked hard, but had fun learning advanced tasks like retrieving, picking up objects and opening doors. Like all young adults, the sisters had to master their classes so they could one day become Assistance Dogs.

But, it turned out the three girls, with their rambunctious natures and joy for everything, just weren’t suited for this line of work. Fortunately, PAWS prepared for this with a Plan B.

What is an Arson dog? Every certified dog is extensively trained to sniff out accelerates that may have been used to start a fire. Each dog is then matched with a Human handler who is a law enforcement officer trained to investigate fire scenes.

The Nose Knows

Once again, the girls went their separate ways to explore new career paths. Pearl moved to a foster home in Maine to learn how to detect bed bugs. But after several months, she discovered bed bugs weren’t her calling. Her real talent was sniffing out accelerants.

Meanwhile, at their foster home in Indiana, Duchess and Darby made the same discovery. Three sisters with the same gift!

Supported by State Farm, the girls happily reunited in August 2015 for four weeks of formal Arson Dog training in Alfred, Maine. It was there they became canine crime fighters and found their forever partners.

Graduation was a proud, joyful day for the sisters, even though it meant they would be leaving each other permanently. The girls are living their happily ever after’s in neighboring states.

3 trainers and the 3 pups

  • Fire Marshal Ben Gouldman & Duchess (Stafford, Virginia)

  • Lt. Brian Dalrymple & Pearl (Richmond, Virginia)

  • Fire Marshal Danny Hill & K9 Darby (New Bern, North Carolina)

PAWS can’t accomplish their work without help. Because of the increasing demand for Assistance Dogs, PAWS has a foster program for individuals interested in caring for and training a puppy, with the ultimate satisfaction of returning the dog to PAWS to become an Assistance dog. If you want more information regarding the foster puppy program, please visit www.pawswithacause.org.

Paws with a cause

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