America Strong: Puddles the mussel-sniffing dog flags 35th boat in Washington contaminated by invasive species

SPOKANE, Wash. — Puddles the invasive mussel-sniffing dog does it again!

Puddles is the state’s first-ever mussel detection dog. It’s her job to sniff out invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, before they enter Washington waters on incoming boats.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said Puddles successfully completed her mission last week when a yacht from Lake Huron stopped at the Spokane Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection station.

Puddles alerted staff that she smelled something near the stern. That’s where inspectors found invasive zebra mussels.

At the same time, check station workers received an alert that mussels were detected on the same boat when it was inspected at an Idaho check station.

The Idaho staff cleaned the boat when they were found, but mussels can be tiny and Puddles’ nose can find them more easily than the human eye.

According to WDFW, invasive species like zebra mussels can negatively impact water quality, clog power and irrigation systems and ruin boat engines and other equipment.

This was the 35th boat found in Washington this year with invasive mussels.

Puddles wants to remind boaters to prevent the spread of these invasive species by cleaning, draining and drying your watercraft before launching into a different body of water.

More information on these species can be found HERE.

PAST COVERAGE: Puddles the mussel-sniffing dog saves Washington waters from invasive species