Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scent of the Missing

Puzzle, the search and rescue dog, sat out of the way between two pieces of furniture, under a large window in the far corner of the room. I rushed through the busy, chatty throng of book fans and dog lovers to meet her.

Susannah, Puzzle’s human and author of "Scent of the Missing", told me her girl is trained to stay out of the way. On a busy rescue site it would be too easy for a fireman or paramedic to trip over her. It's Puzzle’s job to save lives not to be a nuisance.

I was thrilled to meet the author and her smart and gorgeous dog. I descended upon them with a barrage of excited questions. I found out:
  • A SAR dog like Puzzle can take one whiff of an uncontaminated article of clothing and hold it in her mind for days as she searches through a crowded campsite for one missing child.
  • She can distinguish one drop of human blood in a thousand gallons of water.
  • In a matter of moments she can tell you if there is a single living person in a deserted building or a track of wilderness.
  • That she can show you the exact location of one (or a dozen) living persons in a collapsed building full of corpses. 
Puzzle complied politely with my request to pet her. She came out from between the chair and coffee table like a good girl but she was basically uninterested. She didn’t give a squirrel’s behind that I had painted my toenails and ironed my linen jacket in honor of meeting her. Hobnobbing with fans was low on her priority list. Puzzle would rather do what she was trained for - save lives.

My human intuition told me that was true of Susannah as well, though she gave no outward clue. She was eloquent, entertaining and friendly as she answered the dozens of questions I fired off. But I could tell, the book and the book tour is not about fame and fortune. It is about the human lives that will be saved by promoting the heroic canine contribution to search and rescue. And about the lives of homeless goldens that can be saved by Susannah’s telling, and Puzzle’s showing, of the lovely temperament and incredible talents of this breed.

Thank you ladies! You are the best kind of heroes.

Readers... buy the book! Read it and tell your friends about it. Contribute to Susannah’s and Puzzle’s efforts to save lives. You will be fascinated, entertained and inspired. And if you or anyone you love is ever lost in the woods, helpless in a collapsed building or trapped in a disaster area you’ll be so glad you did.

Thank you Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston for hosting Susannah Charleson and Puzzle on their book tour promoting their bestseller “Scent of the Missing.”


  1. I enjoy reading your blogs. I find them fun and interesting. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks so much for commenting! I know people read the blog entries because they tell me when they see me in person but getting comments right on the blog is expecially wonderful!