Albuquerque shelter dog leaves to become rescue dog in California

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Albuquerque's Animal Welfare Department is doing more than just finding animals homes. The shelter found one dog a career.

His name is Baxter, and he's a ball of energy.

"He could do this all day!" said Sarah Wharton the shelter's Behavior Manager.

Baxter wound up at Albuquerque's Animal Welfare Eastside Shelter after his owners surrendered him. 

"He played too rough, and he was just too much," said Wharton. 

Shelter staff quickly picked up on what his owners had been talking about.

"When they tried to walk him he would bite and tug at the leash, and become very difficult to handle," she said. 

But Wharton took a closer look at Baxter and realized, he needed a job. 

"I saw he just wanted to play with the leash, and he wanted to play with toys, and he wanted to play with everything," she said.

So she reached out to a group in California, called the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, that looks for very specific qualities in a dogs from shelters. They train those dogs to find people trapped in debris after disasters.

"I saw the qualities I know the Search Dog Foundation looks for," said Wharton. 

So, the shelter sent the group videos of Baxter hunting for his toys, under kiddie pools, and in concrete rubble.

"Good boy! Yay Baxter, what a good boy!" they shouted in one of the videos when he found his toy in a mountain of rubble.

Baxter passed all the tests with flying colors, and will soon be on his way to Santa Paula, California where he will train for about a year.

"Then he will be placed with a handler with a fire department or a police department," said Wharton. 

For the dog always on a mission, he's finally found his calling.

The shelter hopes to fly Baxter to California to start training by the end of the month.


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