In a novel by Iris Johansen, she writes about Sarah and her Golden Lab, Monty, who are hired by a 'Search and Rescue' group in Touson, Arizona. Monty sniffs out odours to search persons in both man-made and natural disasters. His keenness is superb ~ a willing and dedicated work-mate with Sarah.
The following article was written by Martha Irvine
and published by The Associated Press.
Key to Finding the Missing and the Murdered
The burly Labrador Retriever sticks out his wide snout to sniff the dirt and dusty air. As he runs, he's clearly excited, yelping through the high desert of California's Eastern Sierra region.
“Buster, go find!” Paul Dostie commands. They are a team: the black Lab and the retired police officer.
For years, they have worked together to unlock mysteries ~ to find the bodies of fighting men who fell long ago on foreign battle fields, or of victims of unsolved crimes or disappearances. In all, Dostie says Buster's alerts have aided in the recovery of about 200 people. “He's one-in-a-million dog,” Dostie says, “but he's far from the only dog doing this kind of work.”
Increasingly, law enforcement investigators across the country and Canada are putting their faith in dogs such as Buster to help find remains ~ bodies, bones and blood from the missing and the murdered.
Cadaver dogs were used in searches after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001...and to help find victims of natural disasters, such as hurricane Katrina. More recently, these dogs have helped convict some murder suspects, even when no body is found. Trainers and some forensic scientists say the dogs can detect human residue that's been left behind in a trunk, or on a blanket or tarp or a temporary grave of some sort. In some cases, the dogs also help pinpoint areas where air and soil can be tested with increased sophisticated detection devices. Proving what these dogs know, isn't easy.
“If only Buster could talk,” Dostie quips
as he works his dog through a wide patch of scraggly brush,
about 80 kilometres east of Yosemite National Park.
Near an old mine shaft, Buster eventually zeroes in on a spot, then stops and barks with more urgency. “Show me, Buster!” Dostie shouts, as Buster pokes his nose in the direction of a particular spot in the dirt or at a rock...whatever has set off his nose. As a reward, Dostie tosses Buster a blue rubber toy he's been holding behind his back while the dog searches. “Good boy,” he says. This routine has helped unearth the remains of everyone from crime victims to missing Americans lost in WWII battles in Europe and on the South Pacific island of Tarawa.
They travel to former war zones with History Flight Inc., a non-profit foundation whose mission includes finding the tens of thousands of fallen American veterans whose bodies were never recovered. Among others, Buster helped find Lt. Robert Fenstermacher, an Army Air Corps pilot whose plane crashed in Belgium after being shot down in 1944. Last year, his family gathered as he was laid to rest, nearly 70 years later, in Arlington National Cemetery.
Handlers and dogs often walk on foot, mile after mile to find a body. That was how Deborah Palman, now a retired specialist with the Maine Warden Service and her German Shepherd, Alex, found the body of a Canadian woman named Maria Tanasichuk in 2003. Police later determined that she'd been shot in the head execution-style by her husband, David. “We had worked so long for so many days ~ a lot of long, hard searches,” Palman says. Then during another long day, trekking through a forest outside Miramichi, New Brunswick, Palman recalls how Alex ran to her as if to say, “Hey, come look at this! Follow me!” Palman pulled back some brush and saw green fabric, and signs that a body was underneath. “My pulse must have shot up over 200,” she says. That find was the break in the case that led to David Tanasichuk's conviction.
Labs and German Shepherds are the most common breeds used for cadaver work. While humans, when alive have individual scents, chemical reactions from decomposition are basically the same in every human, though those reactions...and the scent...change over time, forensic experts say.
Cadaver dogs “are an incredible investigatory tool ~ no question about it,” says Lawrence Kizilinsky, professor and chairman of the department of sciences at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “Certainly,” he says, “they can help uncover valuable evidence in criminal cases ~ a body, bones or clothing.”
Like most of the dogs, Buster started young, though Dostie concedes he ignored the pudgy puppy when his wife brought him home 12 years ago. She'd begged her husband to let her keep Buster ~ and then Dostie started noticing what a good nose the dog had.
(Excerpts from the original article)
Conversations About Man's Best Friend
(Courtesy of Sherrie)
Photo of Lab talking to female mistress , both sitting on a snow-covered bench: If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes. Only then, would you realize how special you are to me.
Photo of tired hound dog asleep in front of wood-burning fireplace: Owner says, “I can't think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog...completely exhausted after a hard day in the field...limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I'm sitting and puts her head in my lap...a paw over my knee...and closes her eyes...and goes back to sleep. I don't know what I've done to deserve that kind of friend.” (Translation by Gene Hill)
Photo of old man sitting on park bench cuddling two puppies sitting on his lap, each with collar and leash: “No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog, makes you rich.”
(Quote by Louis Sabin).
Photo of spaniel with large brown eyes laying at master's feet: “Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul. (Quote by Pythagoras)
Photo of adorable puppy napping with head between huge paws: Dogs...do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value they have to bequeath except their love and their faith. (Quote by Eugene O'Neill)
Submitted by Merle Baird-Kerr...December 25, 2014
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