Romane is a dog lover. She is fond of any wildlife in general. Romane is just really fascinated and loves learning about native animals’ habitats and habits.
Romane started as a veterinarian but soon changed her career to being an ecologist. She enjoyed studying the relations of organisms with their environment. In 2007 Romane then went to Australia to finish her Ph.D. research about koalas living in human-made habitats.
Romane has to study koalas in their habitat, but that proved a little challenging because koalas camouflage very well, making them hard to find. And because of their big appetites, they also move from tree to tree very quickly. The simplest way for an ecologist like Romane to find the koalas was to look for their poop.
But a koalas poop is hard to find in itself. Their poos are brown and small that could easily be covered by dried fallen leaves or be camouflaged on wet grounds. Romane worked hard to find the koalas herself, but then she thought of a brilliant idea.
She thought that another animal could help them find the koalas using their high sense of smell. Romane explained that koala poop is not smelly, but the smell is very distinct from others, making it easier for animals like dogs to pick the scent out. Romane relied on her brilliant hunch and met with expert pup trainers to talk about her idea with them, but none of them seemed enthused by it.
Because of the lack of interest and response, Romane became discouraged and focused on her Ph.D. without thinking of her idea any further. Soon Romane met another dog trainer, Gary Jackson, who really liked and appreciated her idea. He even said that training a pup to find koala poop was easy. So with renewed determination, Gary and Romane decided to help each other.
Gary found a lovely pup who he named Mayamaya or Maya. Maya was abandoned by her family outside the shelter and was supposed to be euthanized on the same day Gary found her. Maya is a young and energetic pup, only within one to four years of age.
Maya was not in her best health when Gary took her, but she loved playing ball. That was one of the reasons Gary was inclined to take her. A great drive to have fun and play is vital for working dogs since the drive to play at the end of a workday keeps them moving effortlessly.
Maya was doing very well with her training; she’s a brilliant pup. Soon Romane was told that the pup is a blue merle border collie. This comment made Romane somewhat realize why Maya was doing such a great job. Border collies are known to be smart dogs and easy learners, and Maya is great proof of that.
Romane soon decided to set up a non-profit USC DDC (Detection Dogs for Conservation) together with Dr. Celine Frere, her colleague. A dog trainer, Russel Miller, was also a part of their team. And, of course, Maya is the founding pup of the team.
Maya is now a senior pup and is continuing to help provide relevant tools to researchers together with her younger doggy colleagues. Maya has been a great help to many and especially to Romane. Romane also said that Maya had been a great companion, friend, and colleague to her and others in her team. Keep up the amazing work Maya!
Credits to The Sydney Morning Herald