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New career sniffed out

Trainer Gary Jackson and sniffer dog Migaloo in training before the possibility of being put to work in the French battlefields of the First World War.
Trainer Gary Jackson and sniffer dog Migaloo in training before the possibility of being put to work in the French battlefields of the First World War. Contributed

A BOOYAL dog has gone from a home for unwanted pets to a new career as the world's best archaeological sniffer dog who now holds a world record.

Migaloo, a black labrador-bull mastiff cross, whose original name in Booyal was Te Te, has recently appeared on national television after finding 600-year-old Aboriginal remains.

Sharyn Banks, manager of the Red Collar Rescue dog home in Biggenden, said she was contacted out of the blue by a man who was looking for bright dogs to be trained in search and rescue.

"She is a beautiful natured dog," Mrs Banks said.

"She was playful, she got along with all the other dogs.

"She was also a mad keen ball-dog - she just loved chasing a ball."

Professional dog trainer Gary Jackson, who has more than 25 years experience - including training the cadaver dogs used to search for human remains related to the Ivan Milat murders - said the idea of training a dog to find ancient human remains had been going around in his head for a while.

"My first impression of Migaloo was she was no good for search and rescue because she is not a barker, so I tried her out on 250-year-old Aboriginal bones," Mr Jackson said.

"She was like a kid on red cordial - full of energy."

Mr Jackson, whose company Multi National K9 trains dogs for anything from domestic obedience to military and police dogs for countries all over South-East Asia, said Migaloo was a special dog because she was so motivated.

"She is totally obsessed by balls," he said.

"The only way she gets the ball thrown is if she finds the bones. "She can find a small bone the size of a fingernail."

After less than a year of training, Migaloo - whose name means "whitefella" in the Fraser Island Butchulla people's dialect - now holds the world record after finding the world's oldest human remains by a dog.

The Aboriginal remains were found in Adrossen, South Australia, buried 2m down - and have been proven through carbon dating to be 600 years old.

The new world record holder and now national TV star's favourite food is chicken necks.

"We get them from the butcher for her," Mr Jackson said.

On October 4, Migaloo and her trainer will meet with the unrecovered war casualties department in Canberra with the possibility of the talented sniffer dog searching for unrecovered diggers from the battlefields of the First World War in France.

Topics:  sniffer dog, world record


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