After 3 failed placement attempts, rescue dog catches eye of police K-9 trainer

Maggie, a two-year-old chocolate Lab, had been in three homes that didn’t work out. Then the P.E.I. Humane Society decided to try something different.

‘We saw a lot of potential in Maggie’

Maggie needed something she wasn't getting in the homes where she had been placed. (P.E.I. Humane Society)

Maggie, a two-year-old chocolate Lab, had been in three homes that didn't work out. Then the P.E.I. Humane Society decided to try something different.

Jennifer Harkness, the society's development and communications manager, said that when Maggie arrived at the shelter, she was stressed and constantly barking, and it was hard for her to remain calm. 

It was really that mental stimulation that she needed.- Jennifer Harkness

"She was so uncontrollable. It was easy to see how she was rehomed three times before," said Harkness

But when they began working with her, they saw a different side.

"We saw a lot of potential in Maggie. It was really that mental stimulation that she needed."

She wasn't going to get in the typical home environment, so the society got in touch with Doug Stokely, a New Brunswick-based dog trainer who has been training police dogs for about a decade.

Maggie has everything she needs to be a police dog, says Doug Stokely. (Submitted by Doug Stokely)

Stokely saw the same qualities staff at the humane society saw.

"I asked for a couple of videos of her playing fetch and showing her hunt drive and her skills, and just talking with her [trainer] for five minutes, I basically knew that she is the type of dog that needed a job," he said.

"She has everything — rock-solid nerves, and just that drive and desire to work."

'Exactly what we look for in a police dog'

Maggie is with Stokely now, training and spending some time with his 19 other dogs, which includes a team of sled dogs.

He has been working with her on her sniffing skills, and he said she is thriving in the environment.

"The reason dogs end up in a shelter, like Maggie, that's exactly what we look for in a police dog," he said.

Dogs like Maggie aren't good at hanging around the house, said Stokely. They want to work.

Staff at the humane society are thrilled Maggie has found a place.

"It just proves that taking the time to work with animals on what their needs are is so worthwhile," said Harkness.

Maggie has been accepted into a K-9 training program, and Stokely is certain she will do very well, almost certainly ending up as a narcotics detection dog.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from island Morning


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?