We were saddened to learn yesterday from the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office that their K9 deputy, Loki, had passed.  

This got me thinking about other dogs in Montana who have jobs. It’s easy to forget about the ways professional canines keep us safe, or assist with the functions of everyday life. And if you’re new to Montana, or you don’t think about these kinds of things, you might not know about some of the interesting working dogs in Montana. It’s not much, but as a gesture of thanks by way of education, here’s a reminder about the kinds of working dogs we have in Montana. 

Avalanche Dogs  

Skadi is training with Lost Trail to be an avalanche dog, an important member of a ski patrol. It’s not every day that you get to see the way they train, either. Check out the adorable video of Skadi below.  

Livestock Dogs

Many Montana farmers and ranchers use livestock dogs to help manage and herd cows and sheep. Even the Missoula Parks and Recreation department uses livestock dogs. In the summer of 2022, a reminder was issued that hikers needed to keep their dogs off of Mount Jumbo where sheep were being used to control noxious weeds. Livestock dogs were also on Mount Jumbo helping to manage the sheep. While the sheep may get more attention for helping to control the noxious weed problem, the livestock dogs are important to the process, too.

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K9 Deputies

Both the Missoula County Sherriff's Department and the Missoula Police Department work with K9 Deputies on department business. According to the City of Missoula's website, "The Missoula Police Department uses police dogs on a variety of calls. Some of their recent successes include locating wanted persons, locating drugs and other articles needed in ongoing investigations." Below is a recent post from the Missoula Police Department about K9 Zip.

Service and Emotional Support Dogs

When I was a kid, I remember a German Shepherd puppy named "Carrot" that belonged to my swim coach. Carrot would come to swim practice and train as a service animal while we swamp laps. I remember she had a special vest with a large message that said something like "Don't pet me I'm training" and then when she was older she was given a new vest that said, "Don't pet me I'm working." Carrot was assigned to a blind person. Dogs like Carrot assist with many kinds of impairment and provide crucial support to a variety of individuals.

Thank you to all the good, working doggos.

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