Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

Doug's Blog

Fred in the Shed

Posted by douggoodman on May 22, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Today we did compass work training and people skills.  I don't consider myself a huge fan of compass work; however, I think it is necessary to continuously practice using your compass.  In this case, a giant circle was set up with tiles placed at 30 degrees apart, so it looked like a giant wheel without spokes.


After we finished, I noticed a box wrapped in a plastic bag.  The movie Se7en ran through my head.


What's in the box?  C'mon....what's in the box?


Turns out I wasn't that far off from what Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) found in the box, but I haven't opened it yet.  I wanted to create a safe place to keep it first.  I've got kids.


I was so ecstatic after finding out what that I had new "Fred," I had to rewrite my day.  It felt like Christmas and my birthday all at once.  Obtaining Fred, especially Fred large enough and smelly enough to search on, is a difficult process, mostly involving a lot of begging and a lot of denial.  (I guess that makes it a lot like writing.)


First up, materials.  I needed new plastic bags, and gloves, and I needed a freezer.  I needed to treat this stuff like the worst material on Earth because it came from unknown sources.  A nurse at a local hospital was kind enough to donate the material.  So it could be anything in there. 


The freezer is the big component.  I have always wanted to get a freezer so that I could put "Fred in the shed."  There are two reasons for it.  First, bacterial aging.  The smell of decomposition is the smell of bacteria working on a scent material, whether it is blood, bone, or flesh.  The chemicals produced from the decomp is what the dog hits on.  Therefore, the longer you keep the source material, the less of it you have, and the more decomposed it becomes.  It would be safe to say that in some cases the dog is sniffing a 5-year old bloody gauze, even if the gauze was placed in the training zone twenty minutes ago.  So a freezer would curb the decomp by keeping the bacteria less active.


The second reason should be obvious if you have children.  No way I want that stuff kept somewhere they could easily get to it.  So when my family and I went out today looking for a freezer, I asked to see freezers with locks, depsite my wife's warnings that I sounded like a serial killer when I asked for a locked freezer.


Thanks to my mini-van, I had no problem getting the freezer into the back and carting it home.  From there is was a question of making room for it and plugging it in.  Currently it is frosting up.  I hope to later tonight or early tomorrow load the freezer with the Fred.


Fred in the Shed

Last year I took a course on Bloodborn pathogens, a required part of HRD handler certification through NASAR.  Although I took it, I think It is time to renew the course.  The safest thing to do is treat this stuff like the worst stuff on Earth - think of all kinds of diseases and assume the source material has them.  Treat it with respect, always wash, and keep it locked when not in use.

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

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