The Petco Foundation awarded the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS) a $5,000 grant through the Foundation’s sixth annual Holiday Wishes campaign, an opportunity for individuals or organizations around the country to share how an adopted pet has changed their lives. From left, OPHS Executive Director, Luanne Hinkle, Linda Crow, Becky Upton, Denise Foley, Donna Halsaver, Theresa Killgore, and Brooke Horn hold the grant check at the Sequim Petco on Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of Brandie Ballard Photography

The Petco Foundation awarded the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS) a $5,000 grant through the Foundation’s sixth annual Holiday Wishes campaign, an opportunity for individuals or organizations around the country to share how an adopted pet has changed their lives. From left, OPHS Executive Director, Luanne Hinkle, Linda Crow, Becky Upton, Denise Foley, Donna Halsaver, Theresa Killgore, and Brooke Horn hold the grant check at the Sequim Petco on Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of Brandie Ballard Photography

OPHS receives grant for deaf narcotics detection dog

A dog named Ghost was seen and heard around the nation when he became the first deaf narcotics detection dog in the country.

Ghost, an all-white pit bull terrier mix, was saved by the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS) from a high-kill shelter in another state more than a year ago.

He was often overlooked for adoption because he was deaf and high energy, OPHS representatives say. He found a purpose, however, with the Washington Department of Corrections when he was adopted and trained — with his handler, Joe Henderson — to become a narcotics detection dog.

“This is a dog that everybody passed up because (people were) afraid he was not trainable,” OPHS executive director Luanne Hinkle said.

What separates Ghost from other dogs, is the fact that he is “ball-motivated,” a trait K-9 trainers look for in recruiting canine detectives.

OPHS veterinarian Dr. Susy Zsustiak recommended an evaluation to Barbara Davenport from the Washington Department of Corrections, and noticed that Ghost did not evoke many typical traits of deaf dogs, according to a press release from the Petco Foundation.

Ghost was then brought to Henderson for certification training. Together, he and Ghost developed a sign language only they could understand.

Henderson and Ghost spent 300 hours in training to certify Ghost to become a narcotics detection dog and Henderson’s canine partner.

“I literally could not do my job without him,” Henderson said in Ghost’s story posted on the Petco Foundation’s website. “Not only is his career special, Ghost is the very first deaf drug-sniffing detective in the entire nation.”

Ghost’s story was submitted to the Petco Foundation’s annual Holiday Wishes grant campaign through OPHS and was selected as one of 51 stories to receive a grant.

OPHS received a $5,000 grant from the Petco Foundation at the Sequim Petco on Dec. 1 for Ghosts’s story. Ghost and Henderson also received a $50 shopping spree.

Hinkle said the money will be used to continue to fund the organization’s operations and its care of animals at its facilities.

“This is the first time (OPHS) entered and received funds for (Petco Foundation’s) Holiday Wishes campaign,” Hinkle said.

“We never submitted a story before and we are honored (Petco Foundation) saw the heart-warming story behind a dog that was not adoptable that made such a difference.”

Ghost’s story has also been featured on King 5 News and has made its rounds in news organizations throughout the country for being the first deaf narcotics detection dog in the nation, Hinkle said.

The Petco Foundation invites the public to vote for his or her favorite Holiday Wishes story in the People’s Choice bonus voting round which gives organizations the opportunity to win additional funding up to $25,000.

Voting is going on now through Wednesday, Dec. 19, and all 51 stories can be read at petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes.

Olympic Peninsula Humane Society saved Ghost, a deaf, all-white pit bull terrier mix more than a year ago from a high-kill shelter in another state. He was then recruited by the Washington Department of Corrections where he met his handler Joe Henderson, who adopted him and trained him to become the nation’s first deaf narcotics detection dog and now his canine partner. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Olympic Peninsula Humane Society saved Ghost, a deaf, all-white pit bull terrier mix more than a year ago from a high-kill shelter in another state. He was then recruited by the Washington Department of Corrections where he met his handler Joe Henderson, who adopted him and trained him to become the nation’s first deaf narcotics detection dog and now his canine partner. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

More in News

KSQM moves to bigger space, celebrates 10 years on-air

As KSQM remains firmly planted at 91.5 FM on the airwaves, its… Continue reading

Suspect sought in Lost Mountain burglary attempts

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office has identified a suspect in two recent… Continue reading

City, tribe OK wastewater agreement

Similar to Clallam County’s Carlsborg Sewer Project agreement, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe… Continue reading

Sequim man accused of assault after car prowl, chase

Nathan O. Reid was arrested last week for allegedly pointing a weapon… Continue reading

Community news briefs — Dec. 12, 2018

Have breakfast with Santa in Sequim The American Legion Post 62 hosts… Continue reading

Name of Littleneck Beach in Blyn gets state approval

The Washington State Board on Geographic Names has approved a name for… Continue reading

Olympic Medical Heart Center earns key industry certification

Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis announced at the medical center’s board… Continue reading

Police blotter — Dec. 12, 2018

The weekly police blotter includes incidents that occurred in the City of… Continue reading

Backcountry Horsemen support river center expansion

The Peninsula Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Washington, BCHW-PNC, recently supported… Continue reading

Most Read