News & Reviews

What the Dog Knows is a fascinating, deeply reported journey into scent, death, forensics and the amazing things dogs can do with their noses: sniffing out graves, truffles, bedbugs, maybe even cancer. But it’s also a moving story of how one woman transformed her troubled dog into a loving companion and an asset to society, all while stumbling on the beauty of life in their searches for death.” —Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Sunday New York Times Book Review here.

“Good writing is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and this book is full of it.” —Patricia McConnell, The Other End of the Leash

“Fantastic … should be mandatory reading for any police dog handler or trainer.” —Andrew C. Revering, Chief of Police, Ret., Anoka, Minnesota

“It’s a lively read, rich with details on the exhausting and rewarding process of training a working dog, but in the end, you realize that the process is really about bonding in a way that transcends—or perhaps sidesteps—knowing.” —Natural History magazine

Here’s a Q&A with me that ran in the Portland Oregonian, my home state newspaper, last week.

“Don’t let the title fool you here. This riveting read, while it focuses largely on the author’s German shepherd Solo, is all about people, too.” —Ranny Green, Seattle Kennel Club.

“In this combination of history, science, and memoir…Warren looks at the ways in which domestic animals have been able to assist humans, specifically the world of cadaver dogs, drug and bomb detecting police dogs, and tracking dogs. The author quickly gains the reader’s sympathy with humorous accounts of her first days with Solo, the cadaver dog she’s owned since birth, and earns the reader’s respect with a well-researched chapter that calls into question much of the accepted and fluctuating statistics regarding dogs’ superior sense of smell.The book is a welcome and necessary addition to the growing body of literature on the subject.—Publishers Weekly

“Deserve[s] a place on both bestseller and every dog lover’s reading lists. Warren teaches science journalism at North Carolina State University and has strong investigative and story-telling skills, which makes the book all the more enthralling and engaging…highly recommended by this reviewer.” —Bark magazine

What the Dog Knows is one of the best books I’ve read this year.” —Wendy Robards, Caribou’s Mom blog.

“Warren writes with verve and provides rare insight into our working partnership with canines.” —Kirkus Reviews

What the Dog Knows has so much to offer to handlers, trainers, and dog people in general. A full reporting of the stories here would rob you of the roller-coaster of emotions that Cat and Solo experience, and I want you to experience them for yourself.” —Robert Vaughn German Shepherd Adventures blog


September 2014 Raleigh News & Observer’s Bruce Siceloff on the Wilmington historic grave search. Chuck Liddy took great photos and videos.

January 2014 “Would Your Dog Make a Good Cadaver Detection Dog?” in Scientific American blog, Dog Spies, by Julie Hecht.

January 2014 “NC State Professor Trains Cadaver Dogs” WNCN Television, Eileen Park, Reporter

October 2013 “What Makes a Good Cadaver Dog?” National Geographic News Q&A with Cat Warren

October 2013 “NC State professor writes book about the science of working dogs” —Raleigh News & Observer, Andrea Weigl, Reporter

October 2013 “In Praise of Working Dogs,” —NC State Bulletin, Tim Peeler, Reporter

Podcasts & Radio Shows

“Training Dogs to Work” —Podcast from the Jan. 28 Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, with Patricia McConnell, animal behaviorist and dog trainer.

“When her dog Solo showed signs of being “difficult,” as dogs who are the sole product of a litter are wont to be, Cat Warren tried to harness his energy and engage his mind by teaching him a trick. She enlisted a trainer who helped Solo become a human cadaver finding dog.” —Boyd Matson, National Geographic Weekend

The Science of Working Dogs—Podcast from the Oct. 21 Joy Cardin Show on Wisconsin Public Radio

“The Nifty Noses of Forensic Canines,” podcast of WUNC’s The State of Things, with Frank Stasio.


The Science of What the Dog Knows—excerpt from Chapter 3 of What the Dog Knows on Science 2.0 website

“How I Turned My Problem Pet into a ‘Cadaver Dog'” —excerpt from Chapter 2 of What the Dog Knows on i09 website

Excerpt from What the Dog Knows on Forensic Magazine website

Advance Praise

“Enter the fascinating world of working dogs.” —Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

“A beautifully written, fascinating, heartwarming, and oft-hilarious homage to working dogs. A must-read for anyone who wants to know more about four-legged working heroes. I’d like to shake Solo’s paw for inspiring Cat Warren to write it.” —Maria Goodavage, New York Times bestselling author of Soldier Dogs

“Move over CSI, and make way for Cat Warren and her forensic dog Solo to grab and keep your attention. What the Dog Knows is beautifully and compelling written—not only could I not put it down, I didn’t want to.” —Patricia B. McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash and For the Love of a Dog.

“Cat Warren has captured both the magic and the best science behind the success of the modern working dog. This book masterfully shows how even the best technology cannot compete with our best friends. If you have ever wondered what dogs are truly capable of this is the book for you.” —Brian Hare, evolutionary anthropologist and author of The Genius of Dogs

What the Dog Knows is first the story of the relationship between a hard-working cadaver dog and his human companion. But that deeply felt relationship opens the way to an exploration of the working dog world and in doing so becomes something more—a realization of the intelligence, determination, and decency of these animals, a story both wonderful and wise.” —Deborah Blum, author of Love at Goon Park and The Poisoner’s Handbook

“It doesn’t take a dog-lover (such as myself) to appreciate Cat Warren’s remarkable What the Dog Knows. Prepare to be enthralled and enlightened by this story of Solo and his mistress whose clear, lively, personal and intelligent writing will nail you from page one. It’s a toss-up as to who is more fascinating—the dog people or the dogs themselves—in this wonderful and altogether unique book.” —Lee Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Girls

“A gifted story-teller, Cat Warren takes us on a fast-paced journey into the scents—some foul, some sweet, some softer than a breeze—of police detective work. This is a book for anyone who loves dogs, and has watched them catch a scent on the wind or in the leaves on the ground, and wondered about that brilliant organ they possess: the nose.” —Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

What the Dog Knows is a fascinating exploration into the minds and characters of some very special dogs. No one who cares about dogs should miss this smart, funny, and at times surprisingly moving book.” —Spencer Quinn, author of the Chet and Bernie mysteries

What the Dog Knows is a riveting look at the hidden world of cadaver search dogs. Warren highlights the profound partnership developed between humans and dogs during their intense, but positive training, and in real situations … I was entertained and educated … The people and dogs who inhabit this world are unforgettable. I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in dogs, animals, and the relationships between humans and animals.” —Stacey O’Brien, author of Wesley the Owl

“In a series of accounts that sometimes read like detective stories, Cat Warren … takes us through the steps needed to create dogs that search for people—both living and dead—while describing her life and her special bond with a German shepherd named Solo.” —Stanley Coren, author of Born to Bark and Do Dogs Dream?

“Warren’s painstaking research on the history and science of working dogs debunks myths and explains what is known—and how much remains unknown—about canine abilities and behavior. By combining this hard information with anecdotes about training Solo, accounts of searching the North Carolina woods for dead bodies, and the stories of other trainers and their dogs, she has produced a book that is both informative and entertaining. Although her love for Solo is palpable, she remains analytical and clear-headed, never romanticizing what he or other working dogs do.” —Bruce DeSilva, Edgar Award–winning author of the Mulligan crime novels

“The capabilities of these specially trained working dogs are remarkable.  The author provides fascinating insider information about a meaningful partnership that has important legal and personal consequences.” —Amy Hempel, author of Reasons to Live and The Dog of the Marriage

“Working dogs, be they search and rescue, cadaver or explosive detection specialists, are—like their human partners—a breed apart. They inhabit a world of complete commitment, utter dedication and extraordinarily rigorous training. What the Dog Knows is greatly enriched by author Cat Warren’s own love of digging. She and Solo take us on some fascinating detours through history and phony-baloney claims en route to the science, wonder and awe that all rightly surround dogs’ noses.”
—Sue Russell, author of Lethal Intent and The Illustrated Courtroom


Fall 2016
Raleigh, NC
Tuesday, Oct. 11
“Four-Legged Heroes” mini course
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Buffalo, NY
7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13
“The Write Thing Reading Series”
Medaille College Lecture Hall
Free and open to the public

Past Events in 2015

Washington, D.C.
Saturday, Sept. 12
Sisters in Crime & Mystery Writers of America
More event details to come

Raleigh, North Carolina
Friday, Oct. 9
Bouchercon 2015 Mystery Conference
Cadaver Dog Demonstration and Lecture
More event details to come

Houston, Texas
Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17
Association of Professional Dog Trainers Conference
Seminars on scent theory and training working dogs
Event details

Past Events in 2015

Columbia, South Carolina
Saturday, June 6, 1 p.m.
Basenji Rescue and Transport (BRAT)
2015 Convention Speech
More event details to come

Durham, North Carolina
Tuesday, June 9, 7 p.m.
Southwest Regional Durham public library
3605 Shannon Road, Durham, NC 27707
More event details to come

Cape Cod, Portland, Maine, and Boston
Paperback Release Summer Tour 2015

Brewster, Massachusetts
Wednesday, July 22, 10 a.m.
The Brewster Book Store
2648 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631

East Sandwich, Massachusetts
Wednesday, July 22, 2 p.m.
Titcomb’s Bookshop
432 Route 6A, East Sandwich, MA 02537
More event details to come

Harwich, Massachusetts
Thursday, July 23, noon
Where the Sidewalk Ends Author Literary Luncheon
(ticketed event)
Wequassett Resort
2173 MA-28, Harwich, MA 02645

Newburyport, Massachusetts
Saturday, July 25, 7 p.m.
Jabberwocky Bookshop
50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950

Portland, Maine
Sunday, July 26, 2 p.m.
430 Gorham Rd, South Portland, ME 04106
More event details to come

Boston, Massachsetts
Tuesday, July 28, 7 p.m.
Papercuts J.P.
Jamaica Pond Sugarbowl
Jamaicaway and Perkins St., Boston, MA 02130
Joint event with author of Travels with Casey, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, and author of Stepdog, Nicole Galland.
More event details to come

Midwest, West Coast, & North Carolina Paperback Release Book Tour 2015

Asheville, North Carolina
Saturday, April 11, 7 p.m.
Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe
55 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Event details

Durham, North Carolina
Wednesday, March 18, 7 p.m.
Regulator Bookstore
720 Ninth Street, Durham NC 27705
Event details

Raleigh, North Carolina
Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m.
Quail Ridge Books & Music 
3522 Wade Ave, Raleigh, NC 27607
Event details

Pittsboro, North Carolina
Saturday, March 28, 2 p.m.
McIntyre’s Books
220 Market Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Event details

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Monday, March 9, 7 p.m.
Literati Bookstore
124 E. Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Event details

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m.
Boswell Book Company
2559 N. Downer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211
Event details

Denver, Colorado
Wednesday, March 11, 7 p.m.
Tattered Cover
2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206
Event details

Oakland, California
Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m.
A Great Good Place for Books
6120 La Salle Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
Event details

Seattle, Washington
Friday, March 13, 7 p.m.
University Bookstore
4326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Event details

Vancouver, Washington
Saturday, March 14, 4 p.m.
Vintage Books
6613 E Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661
Event details

Durham, NC
Monday, Jan. 19, 7 to 9 p.m.
Durham Kennel Club
What the Working Dog Knows

Raleigh, NC
Thursday, Jan. 8, 10:45 to noon
White Memorial Presbyterian Church
Book reading, discussion, and signing

Past Events in 2014

Long Beach, California
Friday, Nov. 14, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Bouchercon Mystery Conference
Cadaver Dog Demonstration and Talk

Long Beach, California
Wednesday, Nov. 12
Sisters in Crime Forensic Day

Durham, NC
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Triangle Science Writers Book Club

East Hampton, New York
Saturday, Aug. 9, 5 to 7 p.m.
East Hampton Library Authors Night Benefit

Burlington, NC
Wednesday, June 17, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Burlington Public Library Reading

Hickory, NC
Thursday, June 12, 12 to 1:30 p.m.
Hickory Rotary Club Reading

Durham, NC
Tuesday, May 20, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Duke’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute lecture
Croisdale Village, Durham
Lecture Series: Scientific Excursions and Diversions

Durham, NC
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
APS Walk for the Animals
Duke’s East Campus. Mistress of Ceremonies along with Brian Hare, author of The Genius of Dogs.

Shelby, NC
Saturday, May 3, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Reading and Signing at Fireside Books and Gifts
Shelby, NC

Durham, NC
Thursday, May 1, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Treyburn Country Club
Treyburn Country Club Book Group discussion

Raleigh, NC
Saturday, April 5, exact time to come
North Carolina Literary Festival
James B. Hunt, Jr. Library, North Carolina State University
Panel presentation on “Science Write: Forensic Facts in Fiction,” with Deborah Blum, Jan Burke, and Lisa Mayhew
Preliminary Event Details

Raleigh, NC
Saturday, March 29, noon
NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Open House
1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, NC 27607
Lecture and possible demonstration on What the Dog Knows

Sisters, Oregon
Thursday, March 13, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Paulina Springs Bookstore
Event details

Redmond, Oregon
Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Paulina Springs Bookstore
422 SW 6th St, Redmond, OR 97756
Event details

Raleigh, NC
Wednesday, January 29, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Carolina Country Club
Book signing and talk

Events in 2013

Raleigh, NC
Monday, November 11, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
111 E. Hargett St. Raleigh, NC
Benefit and Book Signing for Raleigh Public RecordChapel Hill, NC

Raleigh, NC
Wednesday, November 6, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
German Shepherd Dog Club of Greater Raleigh
The Millbrook Exchange Park, Raleigh, North Carolina 27615
Book singing and talk

Raleigh, NC
Friday, November 1 at 6 p.m.
North Carolina Museum of Science Teen Science Cafe
121 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27603

Raleigh, NC
Wednesday, October 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Quail Ridge Bookstore
3522 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, NC, 27607

Raleigh, NC
Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m.
NC State Association of Retired Faculty (ARF)
NC State University Club
4200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606

Durham, NC
Thursday, October 10 at 7 p.m.
Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705

Thursday, October 3 at 7 p.m.
Flyleaf Books
752 MLK Jr Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC 27514