|3/4/2014 4:41:00 PM|
Author explores 'What the Dog Knows'
|In 2004, Cat Warren found herself with a German Shepherd pup that turned her life upside down - and took her down a path she could never have anticipated.|
Warren, a university professor, and her dog "Solo" have for several years now teamed up to search for the missing dead. She recounts the journey that brought her to that unusual avocation in the recently released "What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs." She will share her journey at Paulina Springs Books in Sisters on Thursday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m.
Born an unusual single, "Solo" was socially inept - he couldn't deal with other dogs.
"He was a jackass," Warren says frankly.
As it turned out, though, he was a talented jackass.
"Solo came into our lives like a little hurricane," Warren said. "He was faster, stronger and brighter, I'll say."
Desperate to find some way of dealing with her dog, Warren sought expert training. And it was a trainer who suggested she train Solo for work as a cadaver dog.
"She saw an impossible dog and an owner in distress," Warren recalled. "She told me later that she really suggested that to distract me and didn't think that I'd take it totally seriously."
Warren is an associate professor of science journalism. She is the daughter of longtime Black Butte Ranch resident Charles Warren. Her temperament and professional bent make her inquisitive, curious and persistent.
She took the trainer's advice seriously enough to connect with the local sheriff's department and get to work - and found that the work suited both Solo and her.
"I found the work fascinating," she says. "I love the world you get out into - even with its dark side."
Warren thrives in the outdoors, and she has come to profoundly respect and appreciate her relationships with emergency response personnel with whom she works.
"The good ones are just very, very good," she says.
Warren recognizes that some find the work she and Solo are engaged in to be a bit morbid, but that is not the way she sees it at all. Nor is the book a depressing read.
"The job of the dog is to go out and bring a resolution to something that's already happened," she says.
Her work has led her into the field of forensics and the science of scent. And it's lead into explorations of the lives of working dogs and their handlers in other fields. "What the Dog Knows" takes readers into these insular worlds and unique relationships, which all have a common denominator: "It's tons of fun to work with dogs."
Bird hunters and sled-dog mushers, K-9 police units and soldiers can all appreciate the joy to be found working with canine partners. The dogs are capable of tremendous feats.
However, Warren notes, "They are not magic. Dogs have to be put in the right places; they have to have this rigorous training to do their jobs."
Given good training and appropriate handling, "dogs at this level cognitively get better and better at certain kinds of problem-solving," Warren says. "They're starting to make decisions independently."
Solo proved to be very good at what he does. He's now in semiretirement, Warren notes, and she's bringing along another dog.
To learn more about the partnership between working dogs and humans, visit Paulina Springs for the author event. Staff notes that you are welcome to bring your own dog.
Warren will show a short video of working dogs, read from her book, and sign books. Refreshments will be served. A $5 admission fee will be refunded upon purchase of the featured book.
Paulina Springs Books is located at 252 W. Hood Ave. in Sisters. For more information call 541-549-0866.
Article Comment Submission Form