Purposefully Lost is the world’s first canine research conservation handler training facility and is situated on Ndlovumzi Nature Reserve just outside of Hoedspruit and Kruger National Park. Committed to conservation everything we do centres around living sustainably, empowering the communities around us and wildlife conservation.
We do this with a little help from our canine friends who assist us by changing perceptions of animals (both domestic and wild) amongst the local children who we work with and, of course, with their amazing noses. Read more about our research objectives here. In addition to our eight permanent working canine staff members, students will also work with community dogs and rescue dogs.
Most of our dogs are high drive working breeds who we saw potential in despite them being recommended for euthanasia – mostly herding/hound mixes. In addition we have a few street dogs we’ve picked up along the way and Coco, our original child therapy dog. Our dogs aren’t easy pets – some have been abused, some have bite histories and some are just plain mental. For this reason we do NOT do any bite work with any of our dogs. We have worked hard to eliminate aggression and, if you wish to work with protection or apprehension dogs, please understand that we are not the correct facility. That said, we are good at what we do – Dougal, who displayed child aggression at three months, became our second dog in our child therapy unit. We are extremely proud that not one of our ‘aggressive’ dogs has bitten since coming to us and, while we understand that dogs are not robots, we are pretty confident that we know dogs reasonably well.
Finally, we support sterilisation efforts of rescue organisations and are passionate about ending euthanasia as a form of population control. To this end all of our dogs are sterilised and will not breed, and we source our dogs from rescue situations.