The majority of canines in the State Farm Arson Dog Program are obtained from animal shelters, rescue organizations, or certified companion programs. Many of the dogs are “career change” or “second career” canines, meaning that these dogs were raised to be a disability assistance or guide dog but didn’t complete their training because the dog was too energetic. These dogs are given a second chance to serve by training as an accelerant detection canine.
Dogs that are obtained through rescue organizations or animal shelters are saved from potential euthanasia. One such dog in the State Farm Arson Dog Program is K-9 Kai with the San Antonio Fire Department in San Antonio, TX. K-9 Kai lives and works with Investigator Justin Davis but she didn’t start off that way. K-9 Kai was found wandering the streets in Bloomington, IL (headquarters for State Farm) and ended up being taken to the local animal control center where she risked being put down. Thanks to the volunteers at the Humane Society of McLean County, K-9 Kai was taken to their facility because they saw something special in her. Volunteers noticed Kai’s intense focus on finding a tennis ball at the bottom of a huge toy bin. They contacted trainers with Maine Specialty Dogs, trainers for the State Farm Arson Dog Program, who assessed and determined that Kai would be a great working dog.
Investigator Justin Davis and K-9 Kai were recognized for their extraordinary working investigating arson fires in San Antonio, TX by winning the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Award for the Arson Dog category. Kai is proof that every dog just needs the RIGHT job to be successful!