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For cadaver dogs, death is in the air

 
For cadaver dogs, death is in the air
PASCALLE BIPPERT/Contributor La Vernia author S.V. Wolf works with one of her cadaver dogs, Smoke. One of her former canine partners, Titan, has been memorialized in Wolf’s book, Death Scent, available for purchase from the La Vernia News.

S.V. Wolf, a La Vernia resident for 19 years, has published her first book.

Death Scent is a fiction novel, but the main character is based on her dog, Titan, and his undertakings as a cadaver dog. Wolf worked with the real Titan for 11 years. He worked on some very high-profile cases with the FBI and other agencies.

The real Titan, Wolf said, was responsible for the recovery of a 12-year-old who had been abducted and murdered, an Austin man who had committed suicide and had been missing for two years, a baby who had been buried for more than 30 years, and a murdered woman who had been buried in her own backyard for seven years, just to name a few. Just like the canine character in her book, Titan really did have a cross birthmark on the back of his tongue and he really was rewarded with a blue rubber ball for his efforts in the field. Titan was 13 when he passed away. Wolf misses him terribly.

Wolf now works with two dogs, Smoke and Zippy. Smoke is a Dutch shepherd and Zippy is a Dalmatian-husky mix. The dogs are “air scenters,” meaning that they sniff the particles carried on the air. They are trained to alert at the site of a cadaver. The dogs do not dig, so as not to disturb the site, which might destroy evidence.

Smoke has had successes, one being the discovery of cremation ash left-behind evidence of a murdered and completely burned individual.

“I have seen these dogs accomplish feats like this many times over the years, but it still amazes me every time I see it,” Wolf said.

Wolf started work on the book 10 years ago and has been adding to it as she found time in between working on homicide cases, working for a combat support agency, and going to college. She has a degree in psychology.

Before becoming a cadaver dog trainer/handler and author, Wolf served in the U.S. Air Force as a C-5 crew chief and military training instructor.

Her book is a powerful hunt-and-chase novel about a serial killer and the story is based here in our area. Death Scent encompasses many genres fantasy, murder mystery and suspense, romance, and Native American legends. This is one of the reasons why Wolf’s publisher, Black Rose Writing, likes the book so much.

Wolf chose her publisher because of the company’s “green” ethic. They don’t print a massive number of paper books, which may sit on some bookstore’s shelves gathering dust; they print only as many as are ordered, plus they make the book available electronically for devices such as the Nook, Kindle, or iPad. The company is based in Castroville, another reason Wolf chose this publisher.

Death Scent has been met with good reviews from readers and critics. A couple of readers I spoke with said they couldn’t put it down, they enjoyed it so much. Wolf also gets reviews and feedback online through “Net Galley,” an Internet site that allows critics and writers to read her work and offer comments, compliments, and suggestions on her book. So far, the reviews have been very positive.

Death Scent is available for purchase from the La Vernia News as a hard copy; hard copies and electronic versions for downloading are available online from Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com.

Dog Days with La Vernia News
It seems to be the “dog days” of summer for the La Vernia News. This article continues our summer theme of working dogs featured in recent issues. Who knew La Vernia was home to so many hardworking animals? From Athena and Pandora, the reading therapy dogs who have been helping kids hone their reading skills at La Vernia Primary School this summer, to Labrador Blue’s companion and seeing-eye dog, St. Nick, to these amazing canines who help law-enforcement and other agencies locate cadavers, La Vernia is full of animal helpers!


What are the ’dog days’ of summer?
The Dog Days are the hottest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, usually from about July 3 to Aug. 11.
In ancient times, the sultry weather in Rome during these months often made people sick, and they blamed their illnesses on the fact that this was the time of year when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose at about the same time as the sun. It was thought this star added its heat to the sun, producing hot, unhealthy weather.
Because of their association with the Dog Star, various beliefs evolved about the behavior of dogs during this period. In the 16th century, it was believed that dogs went mad during the Dog Star season.
Source: http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com (compiled from various original sources)

 
 
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