Foster Pup Turns Drug Detection Dog

Cedar Ridge Dog Rescue pairs with sheriff’s office to give Gunny a job.

Gunderson “Gunny” is one lucky dog. At 7 months old, the German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois/Belgian Tervuren mix was a bouncing, hyper, full-of energy pup. With too much energy, for a couple’s young child, he was banished to an outdoor kennel.

“I got him off the Market Place in Omaha on November 19, 2017. He was free to a good home,” said Custer County resident Larinda Burgess.

Burgess, who had started Cedar Ridge Dog Rescue and Sanctuary near Callaway, said Gunny was her first rescue. She took him to the Omaha Spay/Neuter Clinic on November 22 to get his shots, an exam, and to get neutered.

“I was supposed to keep him calm for 10 days while he healed. This was almost impossible. Gunny hated crates. He would tear up anything that was too close and he could get his teeth on. It was a fight with him every time I had to put him in one. If he was left out and no one was home, he would drag pillows through the dog door into the back yard and have a party with them. We left for an overnight trip over New Year’s, and he destroyed every pillow in my house. I think we still have feathers and stuffing all over our back yard. He pulled the two chairs in the living room into the middle of the floor and chewed the arms off of them. I knew from that moment on that Gunny needed a job. He was – and still is – very bullheaded. He learned things very quickly, but had to be motivated to listen.”

Burgess had contacted several law enforcement and military agencies to see if anyone could use him. Lieutenant Gordon with the Nebraska State Patrol kept in touch with her.

“The State Patrol gets their dogs from a vendor and do not take personal donations. (The lieutenant) did tell me that he has other agencies that contact him regarding dogs on occasion, so he kept my information,” she said.

During the first week of October 2018, Burgess received an email from Deputy McHale of the Howard County Sheriff’s office asking if she still had the dog. Arrangements were made for the deputy to come to the rescue site and meet Gunny.

“After about 20 minutes of playing with him, Deputy McHale told me that he thought Gunny would work good for them. Gunny was adopted out to the deputy for a cost of $50.00 and some dog food for the shelter. While living with the deputy, Gunny got just the job he needed.

On December 17, 2018, Gunny and McHale qualified as a narcotics detector dog team, working for the Howard County Sheriff’s office. The former pillow destroyer turned detective can detect four different drugs, and was recently deployed to a traffic stop where he detected a distribution amount of methamphetamine.

“They are talking about training him now for patrol and bite work,” said Burgess. “I was told by Sheriff Tom Busch that they are so happy with Gunny, and that he fits right in.”

Gunny is a huge success story for Burgess, who said it has been her life-long dream to open a dog rescue. “I have always loved dogs,” she said.

“I also want to be a part of the solution to stop the use of euthanasia to control the pet population. I want to teach people that spay and neuter is the answer to unwanted and abused and neglected animals.”

Cedar Ridge Dog Rescue and Sanctuary is located between Arnold and Callaway, at 41370 Hwy. 40, 3 miles east of the Hwy. 47/Hwy. 40 junction on the south side of the highway.

Burgess said she takes in all dogs of any shape or size. Breed does not matter. The operation is set up as a 501c3 and operates strictly on donations.

If you would like to volunteer, foster a dog, or happen across a dog who needs rescued, please visit, go on Facebook, or call 402-707-0933, 308-848- 2814, or 877-336-4765.

Article By: Janet Larreau

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