Dog who flunked out of service-school has now found a career in arson sniffing

After flunking out of service-dog school because he couldn’t stop sniffing everything in sight, Sheldon the dog found a home with Michigan State Farm Arson Dog Program where he quickly became a world class arson sniffer.

The Labrador-retriever mix was enrolled in a program to become a service dog, but couldn’t quite keep his focus enough to pass the class. He was way more interested in exploring the world with his nose.

While this kept him from becoming a service dog, it is exactly what caught the eye of the State Farm Arson Dog Program. Sheldon began to learn to use his nose to sniff out accelerants used to light illegal fires, and quickly rose to the top of his class. He was paired with Lieutenant John Tadlock of the Saginaw, Texas fire department, where he became their first accelerant detection canine.

In Sheldon’s first ever case, a few cars at a car dealership had been torched, and nobody could figure out how the fires started. Three days later, Sheldon arrived on the scene, and within 30 seconds had found the source.

“We dig through some debris and find a Molotov cocktail. It was just under some debris from the vehicle that had burned away, three days earlier. You couldn’t even see it” Tadlock said.

Since then, Sheldon has been helping the fire department track down arsonists, and he and Tadlock are looking forward to many more years of hard work. While most sniffer dogs only work for 5-10 years, Sheldon lives with Lieutenant Tadlock while off duty, and will continue to be a beloved pet for many years to come.