Sundance Shines in the Golden Study
John Osheka and his dog Sundance are inseparable. Since John’s retirement as school superintendent in Pennsylvania, he and Sundance have been busy. John says the 2-year-old Golden Retriever, who is a trained search and rescue dog, is one of the best and brightest dogs he’s ever had.
“From the time he was a puppy, Sundance was inquisitive and trying to figure things out. He was always getting into things,” John says. “He needed a job to keep him busy, and I needed something to do after retirement.”
So, the two of them initially took a scent-detection class, which led into search and rescue training and other service work. Sundance and John now train twice a week with two search and rescue organizations.
“He’s been training and working since he was 5 months old,” John says of Sundance. “He loves it and really gets into it. We have a special vest that he wears and as soon as he sees it, he goes into serious mode. All of his craziness and silliness goes way and he focuses.”
The pair also helps local police units give search and rescue demonstrations at elementary schools and works with the Boy Scouts. Sundance even helps out when screening families who wish to adopt a dog from Golden Retrievers in Need Rescue Group, for which John serves on the board of directors.
John added Golden Retriever Lifetime Study participant to Sundance’s many roles last summer because he has many friends who have had Golden Retrievers die by age 5 or 6 for many reasons, including cancer. Run by Morris Animal Foundation, the lifelong observational study is looking at risk factors for cancer and other canine diseases.
It was the science behind the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study that immediately interested John in the project. In fact, Sundance was one of the first 50 dogs to enroll.
“I used to teach science and I have a research background. I think a scientific study is the key to finding out what’s going on in Golden Retrievers,” John says. “I instantly knew I wanted to take part in this study.”
To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation and our other programs please visit morrisanimalfoundation.org.