JoAnna Lou
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Resident Canines
N.J. stadium gets two full time bomb-sniffing dogs
Rufus and Anja's new home.

Last month two canine residents moved into New Meadowlands Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and Jets football teams. Rufus and Anja, both Labrador Retrievers, are believed to be the only bomb-sniffing dogs in the country that are full time residents of a sports stadium.

The canine duo was brought in after team officials determined that the pups’ $10,000 price tag was more cost effective than buying an X-ray machine or renting inspection dogs. Rufus and Anja’s job is to sniff every delivery from new turf to hot dogs to make sure that they are safe.

The dogs live in two different kennels that are furnished with a bed and a water bowl. No toys are allowed since they “will chew them to pieces,” but they are sometimes given rawhide.

I always love reading about dogs and people working together, and I was glad to hear that the dogs are trained with positive reinforcement, but Rufus and Anja seem to lead a lonely life. Unlike police dogs, who typically go home with their handlers, the Meadowlands pups have to stay behind at the stadium. It almost seems like the dogs are being taken advantage of. They work all day and have only a lonely kennel to return to at night.

What do you think about these working dogs?

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by babyknight, Flickr.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Jane | July 4 2010 |

From what is described here, I don't like the set up. It reminds me of "junkyard dogs" which are left to guard establishments after hours but with no companionship of others: human or canine. This arrangement seems counter to the current philosophies that dogs are social animals even if they are working dogs. Unless there is something missing from the story, I think this is cruel. Where is the mental and emotional stimulation that a dog needs? How is this much different than dogs being tethered in a yard to "guard" it? I would like to hear a behaviorist, trainer, ethologist, Humane Society, etc. take on this situation. While their physical needs may be taken care of, a dog needs more than this.

Submitted by Wil | July 28 2010 |

This is disgraceful. These dogs are used as an asset only and food and an occasional piece of rawhide are NOT enough stimulation for a labrador.

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