MISSOULA- A grant is helping a nonprofit with its mission to rescue high-energy dog breeds and put them to work saving the environment.

The Petco Foundation awarded a $250,000 grant to Missoula-based nonprofit Working Dogs for Conservation on Oct. 12.

Pete Coppolillo, executive director for Working Dogs, says they take in dogs that didn't fit well with a family life, and give them jobs to do.

"High drive, high energy, very focused dogs, often the ones that a normal family home environment can’t handle as a pet," Coppolillo said.

The Working Dogs use their smelling, tracking, and hunting skills to help scientists conduct ecological monitoring, finding animals, and sniffing out invasive species.

"Also now we stop invasive species like zebra mussels which we are working hard to keep out of this part of the world, and we help stop wildlife crime all over the world,” Coppolillo said.

National field program manager Rene Moreno said The Petco Foundation works to provide special organization like Working Dogs for Conservation with the financial resources they deserve.

"We are able to use our model and identify those organizations that are going to make the most lifesaving impact in their areas of focus," Moreno said. "That's what the Working Dogs for Conservation is doing, so we are excited to be able to present to them a $250,000 grant investment for their work."

Working Dogs for Conservation recently purchased a new center for training in Missoula, where their handlers and dogs from all over the world can come for training. They will be holding an open house for the facility in April.

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