MEDIA ADVISORY: Q and A Session with Sage, Top Disaster, Search and Rescue Dog in Nation, and Her Owner

WHAT: One of the top disaster response and search and rescue dogs in the nation is at Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Center for a check-up following treatment for cancer last fall. Sage has a famous career in the field, starting with a tough first job when she was just two years old: looking for – and successfully finding – the body of the terrorist who flew the airliner into the Pentagon on 9/11. Since then, the 11-year-old border collie has searched for Natalie Holloway in Aruba, for victims of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and led U.S. military forces in their searches for missing soldiers in Iraq for six months, as well as being involved in numerous searches for missing persons and for forensic evidence in murder cases.

RSVP required by 9 a.m. by contacting Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

WHEN and WHERE: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20, Room 120 at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 300 West Drake Road.

DETAILS: Sage, who lives in New Mexico, came to CSU’s Animal Cancer on Nov. 16 to have a mass in her chest examined. She was one of the first dogs to receive at PET/CT scan at the hospital, and the scan also revealed a mass in her right lung. She quickly underwent surgery to remove both masses, including one which was close to her heart. She recovered well from this surgery and has continued her work as a search and rescue dog. Doctors remain cautiously optimistic that her prognosis is good and will continue to monitor her health. Sage continues to work.

Just three weeks following her surgery, Sage was named the top search and rescue dog in the nation by the American Kennel Club, earning the ACE – or Award for Canine Excellence – award in December.

Sage was born in England and brought to the United States when she was 10 weeks old by Diane Whetsel, a corrections and gang unit officer in New Mexico, who trained her. Sage was certified by FEMA as a canine disaster response dog when she was 18 months old. When not working, she travels to schools and community organizations to give demonstrations.

She has recently become an ambassador for dogs with cancer, participating in a walk to raise funds for human cancer research in Roswell, where she got to go onstage and represent dogs with cancer and help provide education for pet owners about animal cancer treatments as well as about how animal cancer innovations can help people with cancer. On June 1, Sage will participate in Camp Enchantment, a weeklong camp in New Mexico for children with cancer as their canine cancer survivor representative.

Whetsel has started a fund, the Sage Foundation for Dogs, to help K-9 dogs who are ill or injured, often as a result of their work.