Sheldon the Labrador who flunked service dog training is now an ace at detecting arson
Even after ‘flunking’ service dog training, the curious canine found his true calling as an arson detective dog
We all have our one calling in life, even if we may not find it the first time round! And Sheldon the Labrador certainly proves that.
Sheldon started his dog service training with Paws With a Cause in Wayland, Michigan a few years ago, but ‘flunked out’ for being too distractible. He had a curious nature (and nose!) for sniffing things out and finding them, which prevented him from learning his service dog training tasks. It was clear this wasn’t going to work out for this Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever mix.
But his super sniffing skills had not gone unnoticed! Soon after leaving the service dog programme, he was taken on by the State Farm Arson Dog Programme where he rose up the ranks to sniff out fuels and accelerants used in arson fires.
In 2019, the super sniffing pooch was partnered up with Lieutenant John Tadlock of the Saginaw Fire Department in Saginaw, Texas, to become the department's first accelerant detection canine.
Sheldon’s day-job consists of sniffing out accelerants at fire scenes to track down arsonists. In fact, he completed an annual certification under the State Farm Arson Dog Program with partner, Tadlock. Since training and working together, they have formed a close bond which they hope will last for many years to come.
When Sheldon’s not busy as arson dog detective, he lives in Tadlock with his owners, working on his daily training tasks at home. Not too bad for having a super snooping nose!
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Cynthia Lawrence is freelance lifestyle journalist. Starting off her career in national magazines, she moved to digital and e-commerce publications. When she's not reviewing exciting products, she is obsessed with home interiors and her neighbour's cat!
By Sara Walker