The little squirrel in the photo above probably would never be considered for a spy mission in a global hot spot (unless there were peanuts involved). However, what could be a friendly dog, lounging by the fireplace in your secret spy headquarters, could be a spy. It sounds like a movie plot, but in quite a few instances in history, espionage has been enhanced successfully by a seemingly innocuous animal.

Montana State University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is hosting a virtual talk from MSU alum Kelly Lewis next week with the topic "Animal Allies: The History of Animals in Espionage."

Lewis will bring along stories of all sorts of animals - on land and in the sea - who have helped in secret spy missions. An MSU news release says she will have details about the efforts of undersea defense and surveillance to cipher smuggling and anti-drone reconnaissance. She'll also talk about the human "masterminds" who thought up the missions in the first place. The free lecture will be Thursday, April 15, at 6 p.m. online, with help from the Belgrade Community Library on Zoom.

Lewis was a writing instructor at MSU College of Letters and Science and now is pursuing a master's degree in the Experimental Humanities Department at New York University. She is examining espionage history and geopolitics - both fiction and non-fiction.

The event is free, but you need to register before noon on April 15. Get the details at You'll be sent a link before the presentation. The event is sponsored by Kenyon Noble Lumber and Hardware as an OLLI program from the MSU Academic Technology and Outreach to provide unique and innovative opportunities for outreach and engagement.

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