Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

Doug's Blog

Bone Collector

Posted by douggoodman on February 9, 2010 at 10:40 PM

A few months ago, some fellow SAR team members showed me a website that sells human bones for search and rescue work.  I have always been curious about Skulls Unlimited.  They are real human bones.  The bones are cleaned in hydrogen peroxide and then stored with other bones to helpe keep the scent.  I have always been hesitant to try them because I wondered about the vitality and robustness of the scent item.  However, I haven't been able to get anything but teeth, and my contact at NASAR (National Association of Search and Rescue) warned against only training a cadaver dog on teeth.  (The scent is very, very faint.)  To give an example, it was recommeding the dogs be trained on scent items that weigh at least 5 grams.  My largest scent item is still under 2 grams.  In addition, Skulls Unlimited has been featured on Dirty Jobs, and if you can't trust a company featured in a Mike Rowe show, who can you trust?


I ordered two pieces:  a thoracic vertebra and a rib.  I am not sure which vertebra exactly I will be getting or which rib.  I hope that the paperwork that comes with the bones will provide me with more information. 


Should be at least 5 grams...

Dibs on the rib.

It is times like this when I do wonder if I am deranged.  I have just purchased a human rib and vertebra with the intent of throwing it in a field and sending dogs to go find it.

Could this be more morbid?  Only if I bought the pieces with money made on sales of my stories Haruspex (about divining the future from bones) and Queen Anne's Corpse.  (And people wonder how I can keep my SAR work and my writing connected.)

Categories: Search and Rescue, Cadaver Dog Sources/Scent Items

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