Scent of the missing

Charleson - Scent of the missingPUBLISHING YEAR: 2010

SUMMARY: Auto-biography of search-and-rescue dog and her trainer.

AUDIENCE: Written for the layman with an interest in service dogs and particularly search-and-rescue.

01 Owner


Author: The author is a US volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler, ex-pilot and no-nonsense-but-fragile hero.

Style and contents: I loved it. Every single page.

The author never falls into sensationalism despite the trying searching conditions on the disaster sites she describes. She gives all the credit for training her excellent search-and-rescue dog to others despite the fact that she put in hours and hours, every single day, in difficult conditions and at times with failing health, for years.

The book lifts the curtains on the certification demands, the constant practice, and the hours – sometimes days – of waiting for deployment. She talks of her fellow volunteers and their work, or the training setbacks and disappointments. Of how disastrous typical puppy behaviour problems can seem when you’re trying to produce a search-and-rescue dog. She briefly shares her struggles with divorce, miscarriage and failing health in characteristic good taste and without a hint of exhibitionism.

Possible improvements: Some might find it a little light on details but the book doesn’t claim to be a step-by-step SAR manual. I picked it up as I was curious about the human, emotional, real-life, gritty side of things. And I got just that.

The verdict: I really loved it and I’m already reading her next book. If you have the slightest interest for service dogs, and particularly SAR dogs, it’s for you. Even if you are a seasoned SAR dog handler, you will enjoy her fair and realistic portrait of the profession.

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Author: Charleson Susannah
Genre: autobiography
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