Santa Clara County Agriculture Detector Dog, Everest, was born on September 26th, 2021. She is a black lab who was procured by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be trained as a detector dog from a vendor in South Carolina along with two litter mates, Berty and Ziggy.
Everest is a small, very friendly girl who loves her job. She is very food driven which made her a great candidate for the Agricultural Detector Dog Program. She was transferred to the USDA National Detector Dog Training Center (NDDTC) in Newnan, Georgia to begin her training in January of 2023. During this training, Everest learned to alert on five initial odors: apple, guava, citrus, mango and stone fruit. Since her placement into the field, Everest has now added cut flowers, potted plants, longans, papaya, and other tropical fruits to her list of odors. The more experience she has in the field, the more odors she adds to her list. Everest is trained to “alert” on the boxes by scratching three times on the box containing any odors she knows. She is rewarded with treats when her alerts are correct. Her largest find to date was 9 unmarked boxes containing various potted plants from Florida. Each plant contained multiple invasive pest species that are not allowed into the state of California.
When Everest is not working, she enjoys playing in any water she can find, playing fetch with a tennis ball or chewing on a Wubba Kong. She also enjoys long hikes! Her favorite treats are freeze dried chicken hearts. Everest also enjoys meeting new people and getting all the scratches she can get!