As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago I thought it would be good to revisit the various disciplines of K-9 Search and Rescue. We have picked up many new readers with various levels of knowledge in it comes to K-9 SAR. So this week we will start with Human Remains Detection.
Yep, Human Remains Detection dogs. It’s a thing. Typically we discuss things “live”. Mainly because that is what Küster’s specialties are in. But, there is another element of search and rescue. Yes, some dogs smell dead people and this type of K-9 is a Human Remains Detection dog (HRD) or cadaver dog.
The human remains detection dog is specifically trained to find the odor of decomposing human remains. HRD K-9’s are trained to ignore live human scent and other scents such as animals. When this odor is found they pinpoint the source and indicate on the human remains.
Just like the “live find” dogs, dogs that work in this discipline are trained to work all conditions. HRD dogs are able to clear large areas or fields. They can also specialize in finding human remains after major disasters. This is called Cadaster.
Some dogs are also given another specialty of working on boats. These dogs are trained to find decomposing human remains with one exception; the odor is beneath the surface of the water. This type of dog is very helpful to in assisting divers in a speedy recovery of a drowning victim.
Seeing these dogs at work is nothing short of amazing. They can sometimes find odor from something as small as a tooth or from a body that has been dead for a long period of time. They can bring closure to a family who might otherwise always be wondering what happened to a missing loved one. Talking about what they do can be a sensitive subject, but there’s no denying that they do a very important job.