WATCH: Working Dogs are nature’s best friends

Rescues 2the Rescue helps place high-energy shelter dogs with conservation detection dog organizations and trainers.Animal shelters have a problem: an overabundance of high-energy, reward-driven dogs that can be difficult to place in traditional homes.

Conservation organizations also have a problem: a lack of qualified dogs to assist with wildlife conservation efforts.

Enter Rescues 2the Rescue (R2R), a collaboration between the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Working Dogs for Conservation (WDC).

This innovative new platform aims to tackle the aforementioned problems by connecting animal shelters with conservation detection dog organizations and trainers. WDC is a natural partner for IFAW, given their expertise and leadership in conservation detection dog work worldwide. In addition, WDC trains dogs to work in many of IFAW’s existing issue areas, including combating the trafficking of elephant, rhino and pangolin parts.

R2R seeks to place high-energy dogs in careers and homes that complement their vitality.

The goal is to maximize adoption rates for these dogs, and to provide them with a meaningful life in conservation. Indeed, working dogs excel at detecting otherwise hard to find wildlife and plants, finding direct threats to wildlife such as snares and poison, sniffing out illegal ivory and bushmeat, and helping scientists to gather wildlife population data.

To facilitate the adoption process, R2R created a convenient database that allows animal shelters to list eligible dogs, which conservation organizations can then consult. Rescues 2the Rescue also provides standardized evaluation tools for assessing a dog’s potential to be a working dog.

The exercises used to measure dogs’ potential to serve in conservation detection roles are simple to administer and enjoyable for the dogs.

IFAW’s partnership with WDC is a win-win, taking more dogs out of shelters and shaping them into canine conservationists. That’s good for the dogs, for the shelters and conservation organizations and – ultimately – for the planet.


You can help contribute to the success of this program by contacting your local animal shelter or foster organization and telling them about Rescues 2the Rescue. Together, let’s make sure that perfectly capable working dogs get adopted.

Post a comment


Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy