Hide and Retrieve with Sophie

Sophie the rescue dog searches for a box of teeth to ready her to search for human remains.

Scott Hammond

Scott C. Hammond is a Professor of Management at Utah State University and the author of Lessons of the Lost: Finding Yourself in Work, Life and Wilderness.

He is also a volunteer search and rescue worker with Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs, a member of the National Search and...Read more

Rescue dogs are often called in to aid in search and recovery operations. Handler Karen Stagnaro, and her dog Sophie recently returned from Hildale, Utah, where they helped find the bodies of flood victims. It takes 800 hours of training to create a search dog. About 100 of those hours are needed to train the dog, and 700 are for the handler.

Scott with his dog.

As a handler for Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs, I work with Dusty two or three times a week doing the kinds of problems we might encounter during a search. Dusty is very good at finding "live" subjects, but in this video Karen and Sophie are teaching me about finding human remains. About 50% of the searches we do are for people presumed dead. Karen and Sophie (as you will see) are masterful searchers. Dusty still needs some work.

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