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Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog    by Susannah Charleson order for
Scent of the Missing
by Susannah Charleson
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

After reading a newspaper story that included a photo of a search and rescue team of dog and handler, Susannah Charleson decided that she would like to volunteer to do the same. She describes the experience in Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog.

A pilot, Charleson had search experience. But she had no idea of what it takes to work with a search and rescue team. Going into it with her eyes wide open, she has not regretted the time and effort it took to find just the right dog and then to train both dog and herself. After that came dedication to each mission and those who needed their help.

Charleson found her dog a Golden Retriever named Puzzle. Puzzle was a tiny puppy who grew into a sweet, loving, hard-working dog. Puzzle showed at the very beginning that she had the makings of a search dog and soon proved herself. When she included Puzzle in her family, Charleson had a tiny, very old Pomeranian who needed to be treated very carefully. Puzzle not only was gentle with the Pom but guided her when the dog lost her sight, while Puz romped vigorously with Susannah's other Poms.

Scent of the Missing is a heartwarming - heartbreaking at times - tale that is rewarding to read, just as volunteer work itself is rewarding. I have gained mightily from it over the years. But I never had to put in such hard, physical work as search and rescue requires, for no remuneration at all (out-of-pocket expenses are not unusual with search and rescue). But after reading this illuminating story, you may find yourself eyeing puppies yourself for their possible search and rescue training.

Many thanks to Susannah Charleson and all the other dedicated search and rescue personnel for the good work they do.

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