> Lynn Johnson
> -------- Original Message --------
> From: "Jack Brittain"
> I ran across a remarkable story last night in the Chronicle of Higher
> Education. CHE runs a story in every issue on offbeat
> research areas. In
> the October 12 issue there is a story on Lawrence Myers, who is a
> professor of veterinary medicine at Auburn University. His academic
> specialty is detector dogs, who are used for drug sniffing, explosives
> detection, search and rescue, and other types of smell-based
> There is a funny story about a dog trained for drug detection whose
> lessons were not well structured and ended up being the world's best
> nose for finding plastic bags. There is also another story in the
> article that really struck me as poignant and illustrative.
> In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, search and rescue dogs
> were used. The teams were searching for survivors, but ultimately they
> were finding bodies for removal from the wreckage. After a few days
> working the scene, all the dogs quit working. They just would
> not get on
> task and were pulling away from the site. Dr. Myers was
> called in to try
> to figure out what was wrong, if there was something
> hazardous the dogs
> were reacting to, or any other reason they would no longer work. After
> looking over the dogs and surveying the site, he decided the
> problem was
> the dogs were depressed. They were trained to find living people, and
> they knew they were not finding people alive, they were
> finding bodies.
> His solution was to enlist some of the volunteers to hide in the
> wreckage so the dogs could find some people alive. After going through
> this exercise, the multiple dogs involved all went back to
> work and were
> able to persist in the body search, although with more frequent breaks
> and some sporadic opportunities to experience success.
> In the most hellacious of circumstances, the dogs needed to
> find a spark
> of life to keep going. And with nothing more than a moment of hope and
> joy, they were able to do the job that had to be done.
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