After 12 years of extraordinary work in the field, Wicket is hanging up her working vest and booties. During her career she learned to detect a record-breaking 32 targets for projects in seven countries and 18 states. She traveled more than 100,000 miles (some by bush plane, motor boat, kayak, and the back of an elephant) and excelled at detection in open fields, dense forests, and everything in between.

When WD4C’s Aimee Hurt found her at a Montana shelter, Wicket was a one-year-old wild-child who spent her time barking and bounding off the walls of her kennel. Aimee helped Wicket put her unstoppable drive to good use, and it would be hard to quantify the conservation impact this single dog has had in the years since. She has earned a retirement of plush dog beds and leisure travel, but we will miss her. Wicket helped us push the field of conservation detection forward by teaching us just how much she was capable of, and we are proud to have had her as a colleague and friend.

Wicket had been waiting at the shelter for six months. But nobody wanted a large black dog who barked incessantly while bounding off the walls of her kennel. WD4C’s Aimee Hurt held a tennis ball through the kennel bars. Wicket was captivated; her eyes never left the ball. Amy told a shelter worker that she wanted to take Wicket home. “That one?!” the woman asked, incredulous. “But, that one’s crazy!”

Turns out Wicket was the right kind of crazy for us. She completed her training blindingly fast, and was working in Yellowstone Park just a few months later, searching for wolf and grizzly bear scat. She has since worked in 14 states and 7 countries, learned to detect 26 species of plants, animals, and scats, and has become one of the most experienced detection dogs in the world.


Wicket searching for moose scat in the mountains of Wyoming.