Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog Paperback – January 19, 2011
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Scent of the Missing contains wonderful writing about dogs and plenty of powerful, compassionate writing about the community of mankind. In its telling, it is respectful of life and celebrates the living." –Rick Bass
"The transformation of Puzzle the cuddly pup into Puzzle the professional search-and-rescue dog would be story enough, but Susannah Charleson gives us far more. With lean, lovely prose she takes us on a clear-eyed, compassionate journey into a mysterious world in which every story begins as a ghost story. When Charleson turns the search inward, she does so deftly, never straying more than a leash-length from the heart and soul of this book: Puzzle, and the all-too mortal ghosts she seeks." –Michael Perry, author of Population: 485 and Coop
“A fascinating woman, Susannah Charleson, has written eloquently about her fascinating colleague, a golden retriever named Puzzle, and the critically important search and rescue work that these two faced together. Scent of the Missing is a clear documentation of the ability of search and rescue dogs, and a celebration of the human-animal bond." –Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
"A riveting view of both the human animal bond and the training of search and rescue dogs. All dog lovers and people interested in training service dogs should read this book." –Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make us Human and Animals in Translation
“Scent of the Missing is heartwarming, heart-achingly poignant, and riveting from page one. Puzzle had me from her first joyous wroo!” –Hallie Ephron, author of Never Tell a Lie
—Bark Magazine"In a revealing new book, author Susannah Charleson shares the trials, tribulations, and unexpected rewards of training her own search-and-rescue dog….gripping."
—Cesar’s Way"Susannah's tales of searches are filled with urgency and suspense. They are tastefully and sympathetically portrayed, never delving into the macabre. This beautifully crafted and well-paced story, interwoven with threads on training, SAR science and the author's personal trials, makes for truly compelling reading."
—BookReporter"In this haunting meditation on trust, hope and love, Charleson chronicles her work as a handler with Dallas’ canine search-and-rescue team. A mesmerizing close-up of dogs trained to sniff for human scent, the book also celebrates Charleson’s extraordinary partnership with Puzzle, her golden retriever. Whether describing finding a missing child in an air duct or searching for survivors amid the debris of the Columbia space shuttle, Charleson’s prose is palpably alive, showing how each job, like life, entails placing "one foot before another, hoping for good but prepared for grief, and following the dog ahead anyhow."
—Caroline Leavitt, People Magazine"Charleson's depictions of the dogs, how they work and their joys and pains (and hers) are a pleasure to read, both informative and heartwarming....A fascinating, intense and often delightful story about training a search-and-rescue dog."
—ShelfAwareness"The unique dynamic between man and "man’s best friend" is passionately explored by a search-and-rescue dog handler....An inspiring collection of rescue tales ideal for dog lovers and armchair detectives."
—Kirkus"This memorable tribute to the dedication of these dog-handler teams is an essential read for dog lovers."
—STARRED Library Journal
From the Inside Flap
After a time serving as an assistant for certified canine teams on the ground, Susannah qualified to train a dog of her own. Puzzle was no ordinary dog, however. This bright and willful golden retriever puppy exhibited unique aptitudes for the dangerous and complicated work Search and Rescue teams do, but she was less inclined toward the role of compliant house pet. Further, Susannah wondered if she would ever be able to win Puzzles respect and love.
SCENT OF THE MISSING is the story of their adventures together and the complex bond they form, as they help pursue the rescue and recovery of human victims fallen prey to crime, misadventure, or catastrophe. A teen gone missing. An Alzheimers patient wandering in the cold. The debris of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. From the earliest air-scent lessons and basic scenario training to her final mastery of advanced search patterns and whole body dialog, Puzzle emerges as a fully communicative, collaborative partner in a noble enterprise that unfolds from case to case across the forests, plains and cityscapes of the southwest. Along the way Susannah and Puzzle learn to read the clues in the field, and in each other, to unravel the greatest mystery of all ? that of the human/canine bond.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is well written, but somehow, I missed the click to really bond with dog or owner. What I also find frustrating, is that many search stories end after the search, and you never hear what eventually happened. In a murder case, for instance, it would be nice to know whether the killer ever got apprehended. So yes, it is an interesting book, but don't expect to learn too much about seach and rescue dogs or read really moving stories. One good thing: Puzzle won't die, although it is not a complete all's well that ends well.
Additionally, if you are an animal lover and have ever had a very special, close relationship with an animal that is not just your pet, but more a member of your family and the whole of your heart, you will read along, nodding your head, smiling, laughing, and crying as you recognize her descriptions of all the sweet, beautiful little things that are so remarkable about that kind of unconditional love and bond between human and animal ~ things that you have experienced yourself, but have never been able to put into words.
You also realize right from the get-go that this is an extraordinarily intelligent, multi-talented, strong, determined, sensitive woman, who not only volunteers her SAR efforts, but who is also a pilot, pilot instructor, and now, a beautiful writer. During search and rescue missions, she is there in whatever capacity that is needed. When her beeper goes off and she hits the road in a well practiced, precise 20 minutes, bringing Puzzle with her and expecting to use her search and rescue skills on the ground with her dog, but when she is requested instead to pilot around the area for hours on end, she doesn't hesitate to accommodate.
She is sensitive to the missing victims and their families in her writing and goes into just enough detail that you get the heart wrenching gist of the tragedy, but she does not sensationalize the tragedy to the point of exploitation. In some of the other reviews I've read, people wanted more of the gory details of each tragedy and count it against her that she did not give them those details. That's not the kind of book this is.
It's more about the monumental, Herculean efforts these people and their dogs go through from training, testing, and then working a mission in order to offer a service to those most unfortunate among us.
It's about learning how to communicate against unspeakable conditions with your dog in order to save a life, or find the missing.
It's about trust, love, and unbreakable bonds with your canine partner.
And, for me, the best parts of this book were her detailed observations about her dog: from the quizzical raised eyebrow and what it means; the furrowed eyebrow and what message that conveys; the relaxed trotting around compared to the stiffened stance, nose in the air indicating a find - to the prancing Alpha dog play time between Puzzle and her other dogs and cats; the clearly exhibited frustration of Puzzle when her human partner wasn't catching on quickly enough to what Puzzle was trying to tell her; the things Puzzle was never taught but was smart enough to figure out on her own to the surprise and amazement of her human partner; the many things Puzzle taught her human partner; and the most enjoyable of all: the laugh out loud moments when the author would describe her dog's expression and interpret it in words so that we readers could get the full story from Puzzle's point of view.
I loved this book. I read it from cover to cover, and I frequently read certain passages over and over again just for the shear high it gave me. I fell completely in love with Puzzle, her fellow Pomeranians, Maddie the cat, and all the other SAR dogs. I cried when some of them passed. I developed enormous respect for these wonderful dogs and their dedicated human partners. Despite the tragedies - both of the hapless victims and the author's own devastations, this was still a feel-good book in the end. You realize that as long as there are these dogs and these people doing what they do best out of their own selfless convictions, it makes the world a little less dark.
Like some others, I would welcome another installment of Susannah and Puzzle's later work and stories of life, more searches and more about training and the interactions between the S&R team members and the people they work with and for. Some have said she's a bit heavy on detail, yet I found the descriptions to be fascinating in their own right. Rappelling off a high roof, yikes! Doing so with a dog -- no way! But they do it. Searches inside recently burned buildings made my lungs burn at the thought, yet these teams do it all the time. Her stories about interactions between the various dogs are intriguing, too.