"What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs" (Encore Presentation)

Jun 11, 2015

(Note: This show first aired back in March.) On this edition of ST, we speak with Cat Warren, a university professor and former journalist who for several years had an admittedly strange hobby -- that is, she and her German shepherd, Solo, would often go searching for the dead. Solo, now retired, was a cadaver dog -- and what began as an effort to make the best of Solo's unruly energy and boundless enthusiasm eventually became, for our guest today, a quest to learn all she could about so-called "working" dogs, their handlers, and their trainers. Such is topic of her book, just out in paperback, called "What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs." As Rebecca Skloot noted of this work in The New York Times Book Review: "[This] is a fascinating, deeply reported journey into scent, death, forensics, and the amazing things dogs can do with their noses: sniffing out graves, truffles, bedbugs, maybe even cancer. But it's also a moving story of how one woman transformed her troubled dog into a loving companion and an asset to society, all while stumbling on the beauty of life in their searches for death." And further, per Publishers Weekly: "In this combination of history, science, and memoir, North Carolina State journalism professor Warren looks at the ways in which domestic animals have been able to assist humans, specifically the world of cadaver dogs, drug- and bomb-detecting police dogs, and tracking dogs. The author quickly gains the reader's sympathy with humorous accounts of her first days with Solo, the cadaver dog she's owned since birth, and earns the reader's respect with a well-researched chapter that calls into question much of the accepted and fluctuating statistics regarding dogs' superior sense of smell.... A welcome and necessary addition to the growing body of literature on the subject."