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Writing “Super Sniffers” was a natural for me.  I’ve always been fascinated by the amazing doggy sense of smell. I wrote about how the military uses this talent so effectively on my book, “Dogs on Duty.” So when I had a chance to expand on our partnership with canine detectives, I jumped at the chance.  Whatever we might want to find–a stash of drugs, the poop of an endangered species, the presence of  illness in a person, even bed bugs deeply hidden under a hotel mattress–dogs can find it.

My research was great fun.

I loved meeting many talented dogs and their human trainers and handlers.

Here’s avalanche rescue dog Otter, whose rich brown nose can detect the scent of a person buried in the snow 13 feet below the surface.

Working Dogs for Conservation dog Seamus
Photo by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

And this is Seamus, trained to detect nasty weeds on Mount Sentinel  in my home town.

One thing really stood out for me–both the people and the dogs love their work.  Some of the dogs do it for fun–the opportunity to play with their favorite toy.  Others can’t wait to get the reward of a tasty treat.  But they all can’t wait to get to work with the people they love and want to please.



  1. Hi Dorothy,
    I teach a course in Humane Education in a public school. The first lesson is How dogs help us.
    I got “Super Sniffers” from my local library and it proved to be such an interesting resource. So interesting
    that I plan to buy my own copy, donate one to the school library and one as a gift for my vet.
    Thank you for all your research that shows how amazing our canine helpers are.


    1. Thanks for your note, Ellyn. You might also want to see if “Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance” is in your library. It is about one of the Vick dogs and his efforts to learn love and trust.

      Dorothy Patent

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