An Interesting Book About Working Dogs

What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs, by Cat Warren is beautifully written and insightful. We follow Solo, a rambunctious German Shepard and his handler, Cat Warren as together they learn how to search for and find cadavers.

Solo a high energy intelligent puppy needs a job. A trainer’s off-hand comment that he would probably make a good cadaver dog, leads Warren, a university professor and former journalist, into the world of search dogs. Warren learns the methods for training, finding training materials (most of us don’t have human bones, blood or entrails lying about) and the importance of trusting  your dog.

Thoroughly researched, the book is filled with details regarding amazing finds by dogs, the civilians who volunteer with police departments, the rescue teams, and the loved ones anxiously awaiting news. Searches take place in storms, the desert, swamps, mountains, and on water. Dogs are needed after natural disasters, plane crashes, or murder investigations. Warren also discusses recent attempts to replace dogs with other animals or even electronic devices that detect smell; however, to date the dog’s nose, temperament and intelligence remains the best option.

Warren celebrates Solo, his success and failure as a cadaver dog and their loving relationship. Warren’s love for dogs and respect for nature is apparent. Her writing style is entertaining and her occasional self-deprecating humor makes this a book a pleasure to read.  The audio version is enjoyable listening and is well narrated by Cassandra Campbell.

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