Baxter - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Date of Birth: 2014

Breed: Border Collie X

Special skill: Finding koala scats (a proxy for habitat)

Experience: Since 2016

Quirks: Food obsessed – drools uncontrollably. Spins his tail like a helicopter before lying down on the ground to signal he’s found a koala scat. Has a love bucket that can never be filled. Hugs you after he hasn't seen you in a while. Always finds a way to sneak in a hug while you are gardening, too.

Baxter has one of the saddest back stories of all our detection dogs. He was rescued from a toxic environment filled with drugs, aggression and despair. As a result, the trauma he experienced still impacts his behaviour today. He still has nightmares. Loud noises and swearing make him cower – and truth be told he is a bit of sook. He craves attention and affection, which everyone is always happy to heap on him.

USC Detection Dog Baxter

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USC Detection Dog Baxer

Out in the field, though, Baxter is a different dog. He’s confident and focussed. He is thorough and methodical. While other detection dogs are full of energy, Baxter takes his time, sniffing at every tree. It’s as if he’s worried about missing any evidence of koalas. But make no mistake, he will get the job done, every time.

He’s come a long way, Baxter has, but there is still a long way to go – especially in terms of protecting Australia’s unique wildlife.