Nose to the ground, a brown Belgian Malinois with black markings and large pointy ears scans a Missoula, Mont., neighborhood. Athletic and focused, her name is Tule and she has a stare that says “Don’t mess with me.” Her owner, Megan Parker, follows quietly behind, waiting for Tule to find the scat she’s hidden in a neighbor’s yard; over the years, seeding the neighborhood with scat has become one of Parker’s routine activities. “Hi, Jake,” says Parker to her neighbor. “She’s going to get this dangerous poop out of your yard.”
Jake laughs. “Work hard, Tule!”
Seconds later, Tule sits down by a little stream. Calm and quiet and very still, she keeps her dark eyes focused on Parker, a signal that she has found the target buried beneath the rocks: mountain lion scat.
“Oh, you found it?” whispers Parker. “Who’s the best dog ever?”