Puddles has an important new job for the state of Washington. Puddles is a mussel detection dog. Zebra mussels are an invasive specie that latch onto ships and boats and spread into seaports, rivers and lakes. Removal is costly and once they have reached a body of water such as the Columbia river, they can never be fully eradicated. Washington’s Columbia River is the only basin in the country that is still mussel-free, and Puddles will help keep it that way.
Puddles came from the Green Dog Project’s “Rescued for a Reason” program in Fresno, California, and was trained to detect mussels with her nose by Mussel Dogs in Oakdale, California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that if zebra and quagga mussels invade the Columbia River, they could cost hydroelectric facilities up to $300 million a year, and cause hundreds of millions more in costs associated with environmental damage and increased operating expenses to fish hatcheries and water diversions.