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Meet Our Finders

You’re peering straight into the heart of our organization right here. Say hello to our badass Conservation Dogs Collective Canine Finders! This talented team of conservation dogs can sniff out anything with an odor to help protect the planet we love. Don’t let the term “working dog” fool you. Although our working dogs are high performers in the field, they’re having a blast while unleashing their natural-born abilities for a purpose.

ERNIE

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Meet the O.G. of CDCI, Ernie!

Ernie is a non-stop force in the field, but if we are going to be really honest, Ernie is a bit of a derp. He’s like that guy in high school that was so darn funny that even the teachers had trouble telling him to stop talking. Nightly, Ernie can be seen in the living room carrying his food bowl and doing “the wiggle dance” before retiring to sleep snuggled up to his canine sister, Betty White.

Age: 5 years

Weight: 60lbs

Breed: Labrador Retriever

  • ​Nicknames: Derp, Ernie Nernie, Noodle

  • Favorite Food: Um... everything!

  • Favorite Toy: Shoes, socks, gloves, and kitchen towels

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: On his back, spread eagle!

  • Favorite Color: Blue

  • Best Friend: His "auntie" Holly

  • Trained to find: Bumblebee nests, New Zealand mudsnails, Wood turtles, and more!

  • My Home State: Wisconsin

  • My Keeper: Laura

Fun facts

ALVA

It's our sweetie from Texas, Alva!

Puppies born under a porch in rural Texas don’t often have a great chance at survival, much less becoming a Rockstar scent detection canine. Alva is just that! One of her ears sticks out a bit, and if she could talk, she would tell you that it makes her stand out. (Alva’s the kind of girl who’s not concerned with fashion). 

Age: 8 years

Weight: 55lbs

Breed: Rottie/Labrador Mix

  • ​Nicknames: Alvarado, She-Devil, A-dog

  • Favorite Food: Hamburgers

  • Favorite Toy: Do squirrels count?

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: Curled up with Clairess

  • Favorite Color: Yellow

  • Best Friend: Her mum, Clairess

  • Trained to find: New Zealand mudsnails; in training for bumblebee nests

  • My Home State: Wisconsin

  • My Keeper: Clairess

Fun facts

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HARRIET

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Harry has a smile that'll melt your heart

Harriet was a stray living the hard life on the streets of Milwaukee. When she was found she was a sweet but scraggly little thing that weighed only 23 lbs., less than half of what her weight should have been. She was first brought into Clairess' home as a foster, but Alva loved her so much she invited her to stay—and gave her a cat named Gizmo.

Age: 8 years

Weight: 50lbs

Breed: American Staffordshire Terrier

  • ​Nicknames: Harry Potter, Harry

  • Favorite Food: Food? Ewww! Tug?! YESSSS!

  • Favorite Toy: Anything that she can tug

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: On top of Alva

  • Favorite Color: Orange

  • Best Friend: Gizmo, her housemate kitty

  • Trained to find: New Zealand mudsnails; in training for bumblebee nests

  • My Home State: Wisconsin

  • My Keeper: Clairess

Fun facts

BETTY WHITE

Our not-so Golden Girl, BW!

Tiny but mighty, Betty White lives up to her name. In the field and at home, she’s always kind-hearted and quite certain the entire world loves her. Betty is a detail-oriented gal who leaves no leaf unturned when it comes to locating native bumble bee nests.

Age: 3 years

Weight: 44lbs

Breed: Labrador Retriever

  • ​Nicknames: Betty Bang, Tinker, Bitty Bee

  • Favorite Food: Blue cheese and chorizo

  • Favorite Toy: Cardboard and junk mail

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: Curled up in a ball

  • Favorite Color: The rainbow

  • Best Friend: The entire world

  • Trained to find: Bumblebee nests & New Zealand mudsnails

  • My Home State: Wisconsin

  • My Keeper: Laura

Fun facts

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JESSE

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He's our international man of mystery, it's Jesse!

Jesse came to America all the way from the Czech Republic (where he was originally destined for the show ring but never grew into his gangly teenage legs). What he lacks in style, he makes up for in heart and nose! When he isn't in the field, Jesse wants nothing more than to snuggle up to his favorite people, other dogs, blankets, pillows, a pile of laundry... did we mention he is a major snuggler?

Age: 6 years

Weight: 45lbs

Breed: Belgian Tervuren

  • ​Nicknames: Jesse-poo, Jester, Mr. Pants

  • Favorite Food: The meatier, the better!

  • Favorite Toy: His rabbit skin tug

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: Snuggled up to anyone or anything squishy

  • Favorite Color: Grrrreen!

  • Best Friend: Cassidy, the other dog-brother

  • Trained to find: Bat & bird carcasses; in training for bumblebee nests

  • My Home State: Indiana

  • My Keeper: Morgan

Fun facts

BRONTY

Meet Bronty the super Yooper pup!

Bronty is that guy at the party that is everyone’s friend and the life of the party. He is up to try anything! Camping, paddle boarding, dock diving, hiking, just need a day of Netflix and Hulu, this boy is down to just relax too! His all time favorite thing is sniffing and lucky for him, he found himself the perfect job!

Age: 3 years

Weight: 65lbs

Breed: Labrador Retriever

  • ​Nicknames: Brontosaurus Rex, Puff Poingo (his human kids call him that!)

  • Favorite Food: Bacon & eggs

  • Favorite Toy: Chuckit! tug

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: On his side with a stuffy under his head

  • Favorite Color: Green

  • Best Friend: Pretty much everyone and everything he meets!

  • Trained to find: Bumblebee nests

  • My Home State: Michigan

  • My Keeper: Heather

Fun facts

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HOLLY

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She's curious and exuberant, and our newest apprentice!

Born in the middle of the Covid Pandemic Holly is a very observant dog who notices everything and is very inquisitive! She is part mountain goat and loves to run and jump. She is super affectionate and has absolutely no respect for personal space—happy to share her toys by pushing them in your face!

Age: 2 years

Weight: 49lbs

Breed: Labrador Retriever

  • ​Nicknames: Holly-two-toys (because carrying one toy is never enough!)

  • Favorite Food: She will try anything at least once

  • Favorite Toy: Does it squeak?

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: Who needs sleep?

  • Favorite Color: Whatever color the ball is

  • Best Friend: Willow, my big sister

  • Trained to find:  Currently in training for bumblebee nests

  • My Home State: Indiana

  • My Keeper: Jo

Fun facts

Image by Katie Rainbow 🏳️‍🌈

OUR FINDERS AT THE RAINBOW BRIDGE

Living our lives alongside our Finders is one of the most incredible feelings we experience in our work. When they leave our side, it leaves an emptiness in our hearts. The incredible, infinite, and warm memories they provided to us—and the planet—help us heal and we honor their lives every day in the work we do.

WILLOW

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Willow was born a star

Willow was born with a star-shaped marking on her chest, and was destined to be a "star" from the very start. Always a good girl at heart (she has her CGC certificate), she used her nose not only for conservation, but for search and rescue work during her amazing 9 years on earth. 

Age: 9 years

Weight: 55lbs

Breed: Labrador Retriever

About Willow

  • ​Nicknames: Bud, Buddy

  • Favorite Food: Steak, chicken, watermelon & yogurt

  • Favorite Toy: Hartz Dura Play Ball

  • Favorite Sleeping Position: With all 4 feet in the air

  • Favorite Color: Purple

  • Best Friend: Her mum, Jo

  • Trained to find: Bumblebee nests, bat carcasses, bird carcasses, Ornate and eastern box turtles & Helenium virginicum

  • My Home State: Indiana

  • My Keeper: Jo

Photos courtesy of Lindsay Hayward, Jo Lock, Morgan Charpentier, Heather Mongiat, Sarah Loach

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