Fulbright Grant photographer Andrew Fladeboe spent the last year exploring New Zealand and photographing “mankind’s most noble creatures,” in the words of his blog — service dogs.

His continual series, “The Shepherd’s Realm,” has also taken him to the Netherlands, the Highlands, Scotland, Southern France, and Norway. His amazing photos, below, feature service dogs in prison, epilepsy dogs, mobility dogs, comfort dogs and biosecurity dogs.


Puppies in Prison: Mobility Dogs

Fladeboe spent some time photographing dogs that are part of the Mobility Dogs and Assistance Trust, which provides dogs for people with mobility issues and disabilities. Their dogs are trained in an eight-week Puppies in Prison program where each dog is placed with an inmate at a women’s prison in New Zealand.


These pups are learning how to open doors and turn on lights!


Comfort Dogs: Proven to Improve the Well-Being of Patients in Hospitals and Rest Homes

This is Mo. He’s a five-year-old mini-Schnauzer who makes weekly trips to a rest home in Auckland, New Zealand. Fladeboe says the residents’ faces “light up when he walks in the room.” According to Fladeboe, comfort dogs are very important for residents or hospital patients who don’t get many visitors or tend to be anti-social. Fladeboe said his guardian refers to him as an “old soul” because of the way the lets the residents handle him.


Aww, Mo!


Biosecurity Dogs: The Nose That Knows!

Meet Clauson. He’s a biosecurity dog-in-training at the Auckland International Airport. The dogs are trained to search for narcotics and explosives in baggage, mail, cargo and agricultural products.


Nothing can get past this nose!


Life Savers: Dogs That Can Detect Epilepsy

Montana, or Tana, is a rare and amazing dog who can detect her guardian, Belinda’s, seizures 30 to 60 minutes before they occur. Fladeboe says these dogs are “trained for response,” which means they soothe people experiencing seizures by lying by their side or licking their face or hand. Tana is also a mobility dog who knows 89 different task commands.



“Look, Ma! No hands!”


Conservation Dogs of Treasure Island: Contraband Treasure Hunters

This is Jack. He’s a conservation dog for the Department of Conservation on the Treasure Islands. Fladeboe actually met and photographed Jack on his last day of work before retirement. Jack is a 14-year-old terrier who lost a leg due to infection, but that doesn’t stop him from carrying out his life’s work. These dogs are used to eradicate invasive pests so that native wildlife can live and flourish. They search for rodents, ants, seeds, plant diseases and soil on the underside of cars and shoes. Okay, maybe we’ll have to have a contest between Jack and Clauson for the Nose That Really Knows.


“Nothing to see here, just checking for microscopic seeds and soil particles…”


All image source: Andrew Fladeboe/The Shepherd’s Realm