Korky: The "Unadoptable" Dog Who Found His True Calling

As told by Korky’s handler, Deborah


“Korky had an amazingly difficult journey to get from where he was to where he is now. At Green Dog Rescue Project, which is now his permanent home, he has finally found his purpose. You would never know it by looking at him now, but for a long time, he was a frustrated, misunderstood dog. He was so dog aggressive and high-energy that several shelters had labelled him as unadoptable or unsafe to place in a home.

After being passed around several times during his life—he was kind of like a foster kid—his adoptive family located Colleen Combs at Green Dog, who was willing to take him in. Colleen uses the pack model of socializing and rehabilitating dogs while they are waiting to be adopted into their forever homes. Then named Mikey, he was introduced into Colleen’s pack and was able to fully integrate within weeks, and he had no further issues with dog aggression. There’s even another high-energy dog at the shelter who became his best friend!

I was called in to evaluate Mikey when he first arrived at the rescue. It was immediately apparent that he was extremely focused and would be an amazing detection dog. After 30 minutes of working with him, he was like a fully trained dog. Of all the dogs I’ve ever evaluated, he was the most obvious cut out for detection.

Green Dog is located in Sonoma County, in the heart of wine country. It didn’t take us long to decide to train him to detect TCA—a contaminant in corks that ruins wine and is undetectable to humans when the cork is intact—so that he could go to work in the local wineries. We even renamed him “Korky”! Dogs like Korky can smell one in 500 million particles of TCA.

Korky took to his job like a duck to water. He’s happy to work all day and he’s very good at what he does. If he could work seven days a week, he would. When there’s not enough work for him, he can actually become anxious!

Korky was one of the lucky ones—there were so many close calls where his future was uncertain at best. When you’re not given the opportunity to express your gifts, your life can become miserable and even destructive. But when you find your true calling, you not only help yourself—you inevitably help others as well. Korky finally got what every dog deserves: the chance to live a purposeful life.”


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