Dogs & People

Lisa Higgins & Dixee

Lisa Higgins, a veteran cadaver dog handler, K9 handler and trainer, has responded to more than four hundred searches across the United States and Canada with her dogs. Here, she is training her high-drive German shepherd-Malinois mix, Dixee, at the Cobb family cemetery in Tuckaseegee, North Carolina, where research that combines family history, cadaver dogs, ground-penetrating radar, and other methods is being used to locate grave shafts and unmarked graves going back two centuries.

Kathy Holbert & Strega

Although slave holders were usually farmers who kept few slaves, that didn’t mean the slaves were more humanely treated.

Kathy gives Strega, her cadaver dog, a sip of water after she has searched a field in West Virginia, searching for the scent of unmarked slave graves. Although slave holders were usually farmers who kept few slaves, that didn’t mean the slaves were more humanely treated. The oral history about this site indicates some of their children were sold, and the slaves hadn’t been allowed to leave the farm.

Sean Kelly & Nero

Sean Kelly waits with Nero, a former military working dog, to do a building search during a K9 training in North Carolina. Nero was badly injured by an IED in Iraq, retired from the military, and ended up as Sean’s patrol dog. Smart and affectionate, Nero has a fine nose. He also knows how to use the titanium teeth that replaced his canines. They were blown out during the explosion. He quickly learned the job of being Sean’s patrol dog: tracking, detecting narcotics, and biting suspects when necessary.

Joe Mayers & Major

Joe Mayers, of Louisiana Search and Rescue Dog Team, spends some time training his labrador Major after all the seminar participants and their dogs have finished. Joe had just spent the day training dog handlers and dogs to detect human remains in water at Wall Doxey State Park in Holly Springs Mississippi. Properly trained, cadaver dogs can detect the scent of human remains under water up to hundreds of feet deep, as scent inevitably floats to the surface.

Cathy Cobb & Duke

Cathy Cobb of Travis County Search and Rescue in Austin, Texas, trains her bloodhound Duke on a track around the outside of a Walmart in Holly Springs, Mississippi during a Network of Canine Detection Services seminar. Duke was thrilled to find his victim hidden behind a gas grill.

Brad Dennis & Chance

Brad Dennis trains with cadaver dog Chance, readying him to search a river in western North Carolina. Brad is director of search operations for KlassKids Foundation. Brad travels across the United States, training k9 handlers to work with cadaver dogs, providing advocacy to families of missing children, and managing child-abduction searches. He has also helped rescue a number of children from sex traffickers, and has assisted in taking down several child-prostitution rings.