Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership With a Search-and-Rescue Dog by Susannah Charleson

Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search and Rescue Dog

From the book flap: In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Susannah Charleson clipped a photo from the newspaper: an exhausted canine handler, face buried in the fur of his search-and-rescue dog.  A dog lover and pilot with search experience herself, Susannah was so moved by the image that she decided to volunteer with a local canine team and soon discovered first hand the long hours, nonexistent pay, and often heart-wrenching results they face.

Still, she felt the call, and once she qualified to train a dog of her own, she adopted Puzzle, a strong, bright Golden Retriever puppy who exhibited unique aptitude as a working dog but who was less interested in the role of compliant house pet.  Puzzle’s willfulness and high drive, both assets in the field, challenged even Susannah, who had raised dogs for years.

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Scent of the Missing reads like a novel.  Susannah Charleson’s memoir is an informative look into the world of search-and-rescue dogs and handlers.There are anecdotes about the searches Puzzle and her handler have been involved in.   From looking for  lost people and runaways to recovery searches of  major tragedy sites such as that of the space shuttle Columbia, Ms. Charleson gives the reader an insider’s take.  She shares touching personal details of her life as well as lighter stories such as what it was like to introduce Puzzle to her household pets.

I’m so impressed by and thankful for the people and dogs who do search-and-rescue. I suspect few of us have it in us to do what they do.   There is a photo section included in the center of the book.

I recommend Scent of the Missing to fans of dogs, memoirs, and inspirational stories.

Click here for a Q&A with the Susannah Charleson

Review copy from FSB Associates