This Guy Is Saving Shelter Dogs by Teaching Them How to Hunt Truffles
The truffles are worth between $2,000 and $3,000 per kilogram.
Give a dog a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a dog to truffle hunt, and you feed him for a lifetime: Australia's Truffle Farm is putting its money where its mouth is.
Jayson Mesman of Canberra, Australia rescues shelter dogs, training them to hunt much sought-after truffles. The mushrooms are a delicacy often eaten with cheese or caviar, and can be used to make equally as costly truffle oil; this lucrative business allows Mesman not only to run a successful organization, but to fund the care-taking of the previously neglected pups.
A long-time dog lover, Mesman had the idea while training law enforcement canines. His passion for animals, along with a particular affinity for truffles, inspired him to make the extra special career switch.
While both pigs and dogs are used to hunt the truffles, pigs can be, well, pigs; once tracking down the shrooms, swine tend to scarf them right down instead of handing them over to their trainers. Often referred to as "the most expensive delicacy in the world," that's some very expensive pig food.
Now, The Truffle Farm is the only one of its kind in Australia, and all of Mesman's truffle-hunting dogs, once relegated to life at a pound, spend the day exploring a farm. Best of all, Mesman targets the dogs that most homes can't accommodate.
"I actually go into the pound and look for the dogs that people quite often can't maintain. Those with a really strong hunt drive, wanting to play constantly, the dog that chases the ball until he falls over almost," Mesman told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
"I'm trying to rescue as many dogs as I can and put them onto people that can use them," he continued. "By using positive reinforcement you can get a dog to do basically anything you want them to do. These dogs don't consider it work; it's not a chore by any sense. The key is making sure they're having a good time."