Breed: shepherd mix
Joined our pack in 2016
Scents: 4, including elephant ivory
Rudi is a sweet, loving, goofball who came to us from a shelter in Helena, Montana. He breezed through his detection training, traveled to Zambia to join our poaching prevention project in South Luangwa National Park, then suddenly came up lame. He was diagnosed with fibrotic myopathy, a degenerative muscular disorder found primarily in dogs. This might have been the end of Rudi’s career -- if it weren’t for Rachel McRobb, the CEO of Conservation South Luangwa. She flew in an expert in dog physiology from Capetown, who taught the scouts and the onsite vet how to use a cold laser and neuromuscular stimulator to reduce Rudi’s pain and inflammation. They also learned to do stretches and exercise with Rudi and the other dogs to increase their strength and flexibility and reduce their chance of injury. This learning will continue to ripple outward in our workshops and technical assistance for dog handlers around the world. Rudi’s condition has brought up the level of care for all of our dogs, and as long as he is happy to work, he’s got a job with us.
Rudi searching a vehicle for wildlife contraband while on duty in South Luangwa, Zambia.