September 06, 2022
Dogs Recovering Precious Remains | Dog Edition #62

Can a dog recognize a person’s scent even after cremation? And can they scent those cremains even in an area reduced to ashes by wildfire?

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Huge wildfires are devastating in every way possible. Forests are burned down, and the wildlife that lives there does, too. Human lives are lost, and homes are, too. 

And for some, the tragedy is compounded by the need for quick escape. When you’re fleeing for your life you may not have time to pack a change of clothes and grab your important documents, let alone box up your most precious possessions.

Fire survivors have much to mourn, but one of the most acute losses, many say, is leaving the cremains of their loved ones behind.

Who would ever imagine that we could find ashes among heaps of ashes? Canine forensic specialists, that’s who!  Dogs who are trained to find human remains, it turns out, can find human cremains, too. Alex DeGeorgey from Alta Heritage Foundation and Lynne Engelbert, from the Institute of Canine Forensics (along with her border collie Piper) share how the dogs scent can recover the cremains, and what kind of training is involved. 

James and Clare talk to the experts about this seemingly insurmountable process. You’ll learn how dogs scent and recover cremains, and what kind of training is involved. You’ll also hear Molly Rich’s moving story of recovering her dad’s ashes.

About Alta Heritage Foundation

It is our mission is to use applied archaeology techniques in support of humanitarian efforts; to provide heritage educational opportunities; to foster historic preservation events; to address climate change impacts to cultural resources; and to provide support to students, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations conducting archaeology or historic preservation activities.

About Alex DeGeorgey

Alex’s professional career began in 1994. Since that time, he has completed projects with both public agencies and the private sector engaged in the management of cultural resources. He manages prehistoric and historic-era resources investigations, including directing large-scale field studies and assembling field teams.

About Lynne Engelbert

Lynne has 30+ years of detection dog training and handling experience and is an associate with the Institute for Canine Forensics. Lynne and Piper, her border collie, are certified in Historic Human Remains Detection (HHRD), and FEMA Human Remains Detection (disaster).

About Dog Podcast Network (DPN)

DPN is the first of its kind. A podcasting network as devoted to dogs, as they are to us. Our mission is simple: entertain, inspire and inform. We will improve the quality of life for dogs and the people who love them.

Check out Dog Podcast Network for other dog-adjacent shows:

The Long Leash where we rescue tasty scraps from the editing room floor in an unscripted interview show

Dog Cancer Answers which offers vetted advice from real veterinarians who answer your questions about dog cancer

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