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SOURCE Search Dog Foundation
Mars Veterinary to donate WISDOM PANEL® Breed Identification DNA Tests to Search Dog Foundation for the recruiting and training of shelter canines
OJAI, Calif., June 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Disaster response organization, Search Dog Foundation (SDF) today announced that it will now use WISDOM PANEL® breed identification DNA tests on all incoming canine recruits to help identify suitable candidates for its training program. SDF is a California-based non-profit whose mission is to strengthen disaster response in America, by recruiting and training shelter/rescue dogs and partnering them with first responders for deployment to disaster sites around the country and the world.
SDF's process of recruiting candidates from shelters across the country can be a life-saving and life-changing opportunity for some canines. Such was the case with Winnie, a recent graduate of the SDF program who was abandoned by her owner to a shelter in Wyoming because of excessive energy, drive, and tenacity. Yet it was these same traits that made her perfect for search and rescue.
"To be a part of advancing a life-saving cause such as search and rescue is something we're very excited about," said Mars Veterinary General Manager Neale Fretwell, PhD. "Knowing dogs like Winnie, who may have otherwise perished in a shelter, can find purpose and reward in the work they were truly bred for is just the kind of practical application of DNA technology we hope for."
Recruiting and training a dog for search and rescue is time and resource intensive. Initially SDF relied on visual identification to find candidates for the program-looking for dogs that resembled breeds known to be successful in search and rescue work. However, visual identification, especially with mixed-breed dogs, is only accurate about 25 percent of the time. To improve these results, SDF partnered with Mars Veterinary, makers of the WISDOM PANEL® DNA tests to first analyze their population of successful program graduates and then build a database of ideal search and rescue breeds from that population. Mars Veterinary will now donate WISDOM PANEL® kits to SDF for testing and vetting all new candidates to the program.
"We're grateful to Mars Veterinary for contributing this essential tool in the recruitment and profiling of these heroic dogs," said Debra Tosch, SDF Executive Director and former canine handler. "Beyond the initial assessment, if a particular behavior comes up in training, knowing the breed's natural tendencies further helps our trainers understand that behavior."
As for Winnie, SDF expects great things for this Australian Shepherd and West Highland White Terrier mix who, upon graduation, was paired with handler Alex Van. Alex and Winnie have been assigned to the Orange County Fire Authority and will be an invaluable asset to the community and country at large. Winnie has come a long way from an uncertain future in a shelter to potential hero, but according to her DNA…she had it in her all along.
WISDOM PANEL® 2.0 kits are available to consumers at www.wisdompanel.com for $79.99 each. The test covers more than 200 breeds including all those recognized by the AKC and includes (2) "do-it-yourself" cheek swabs, instructions and pre-paid shipping for mailing the sample to the lab. After a simple three-step process-at-home swabbing, kit activation online, and mailing the kit back in-and within three weeks of receipt of the sample, dog owners are emailed an official Ancestry Report revealing their dog's genetic background.
The WISDOM PANEL® 2.0 test can give owners:
National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Ojai, California. Our mission is to strengthen disaster preparedness in America by partnering rescued dogs with firefighters to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. The teams are provided at no cost to fire departments and other emergency service agencies throughout the country.
About Mars Veterinary
Mars Veterinary is a business unit of Mars Symbioscience, the global health and life sciences segment of Mars, Incorporated. Its mission is facilitating responsible pet care by enhancing the well-being and relationship between pets, pet owners and veterinarians through valuable insights into pets as individuals.
For nearly a decade, Mars Veterinary has researched and developed state-of-the-art genetic tests for mixed-breed dogs, revolutionizing personalized pet care. By discovering a mixed-breed dog's ancestry, pet owners and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness programs that fit the one-of-a-kind needs of a mixed-breed dog. For more information, visit www.wisdompanel.com or join us on Facebook at facebook.com/doggiedna.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars' first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a "mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders" – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 72,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA® and WISDOM PANEL®.
For more information, please visit www.mars.com. Follow us: facebook.com/mars, twitter.com/marsglobal, youtube.com/mars, linkedin.com/company/mars.
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