Digger: The Case of the Chimera Killer

Digger: The Case of the Chimera Killer by Robert D. Calkins, pgs. 337, ISBN: 978-0-9971911-2-7, self-published, $15.95.

Digger is a fast paced, fun read for all ages. The story is about a young man, his Golden Retriever and his girlfriend who are part of a canine search and rescue team. While the story is lighthearted in many ways, it is also dramatic and a page turner. The examples of how SAR dogs work and the technical aspects of searching are true to real life missions. The added mystery of solving who the killer is adds to the excitement of this book.

The quality of the book is good and there are no technical issues or grammatical mistakes.

Calkins has also written two children’s picture books.

Sierra Becomes a Search Dog, ISBN:978-0-9971911-0-3; and Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred, ISBN: 9780997191141 both by Robert D. Calkins and illustrated by Taillefer Long. Both books are $10.95.

Sierra Becomes a Search Dog and Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred are nice children’s book with Fun Facts sidebars explaining technical aspects in a way that children will understand. Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred is told as a rhyme/poem which is not bad. I personally liked the style used in Sierra Becomes a Search Dog which is written in simple language for young readers. Both are excellent books to introduce children to canine SAR.

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Manila Marriage App: Passport to Romance by Jan Elder

Manila Marriage App: Passport to Romance by Jan Elder, 131 pgs, ISBN: 2370000214362, $3.99

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This surprising book is a delightful, fast moving read. On a lark the main character Shay, replied to an ad for a wife in the Philippians. She only expected to stay a few weeks but was in for a life changing surprise. Dr. Timothy Flynn, the man who placed the ad was not what she thought he would be.

The author’s description of the Philippians make you feel as though you were there. Manila Marriage App: Passport to Romance is a mixture of comedy, embarrassing moments, tragedy and a surprising ending. The twists and turns of the plot kept this a page turning book. It is hard to put it down once you start reading it. This book is suitable for all readers including young adults.

Phillip’s War

Phillip’s War by Rachel Muller, 374 pgs., ISBN: 9781536961546, $15.99

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This is the third and final book in the Love & War series by Ms. Muller. The other two books are Letters from Grace and Maggie’s Mission.  All three books complement each other telling the story about three friends during WWII. The emotions and flavor of this time period are captured by Ms. Muller with accurate details about life during WWII. Phillips War shows the reader how shell shock (PTSD) affected soldiers and their families.

While each book is unique, they weave a complete story together. Often when you finish a book you are left wondering what finally happened but Phillip’s War tells the rest of the story in a special section at the end of the book.

All three books are Christian based without being preachy and are suitable for all age groups. It is a good book for young adults to learn what life was like during the war years. Although the situations in all books are unique to WWII, the way the characters handle their problems applies to modern times as well.

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes, by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education, Inc.; 256 pgs.; ISBN: 978-1-55059-672-4, $44.95

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How can you make a good book better? Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak who wrote K9 Fraud, have accomplished that with their updated book, K9 Investigation Errors. They cover many important points in handling dogs that are common mistakes. For example, they explain how dogs can read human gestures, even the slightest ones (the Clever Hans Effect) which can cause a false response from a dog. They review some famous cases in the United States and show how the handler or poor training misled authorities, sometimes resulting in the arrest of the wrong person.

What I especially liked was their comments that dog handlers who claim fantastic results with their dogs (typically false) influence authorities who believe them and then think that properly trained dogs who cannot perform to that level are not as good, when in fact the properly trained and handled dogs are correct.

Another interesting point that they bring out in their book is what they call failure scents. This is when a dog associates a scent with failure and by association can lead to the dog’s poor performance. This is the same as people will often associate a benign event, song, scent or even food with a bad experience and react to the memory that it triggers.

There is so much information in this book that I strongly recommend handlers of all disciplines read this book and evaluate how they can improve their dogs and their handling skills.

The book is a high quality book, as is typical of Brush Education Publications, with quality binding, pages and soft cover. It is well edited with no typo’s or other common mistakes that authors tend to make when writing. It is always a pleasure to review a Brush Education book.

The chapters are:

Scent-Identification Lineups

The Dutch Training Method for Scent Identification

Dogs’ Responsiveness to Human Gestures

Tracking Dogs in Crime Investigations

Scent Research and Tracking Experiments

Errors in Mantrailing

Human Odor and Dogs’ Scent Perception

Scent Problems and Training Problems

Preventing Investigation Errors

Mighty Little Man

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Mighty Little Man: My Story, His Story, Our Story by Jonathon Scott Payne, ISBN: 1493634046, ISBN 13: 9781493634040; 328 pgs; self-published.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Mr. Payne’s writing style was direct, personal, honest and easy to read. The quality of the book itself is good and I did not find any grammatical or other mistakes.

Mr. Payne’s story is one of accomplishment and devotion. Although he had some difficult times, he did not dramatize the events in his life but yet told them in a way that made you relate or understand what he was going through.

His love of cats shines through the story and the way he wove Little Man into his story was an art form. The reader feels what Mr. Payne felt and got to know Little Man as if he were your own cat.

I personally can relate to Little Man since many of this antics and mannerisms were the same as my own cats. It made me feel good to recall them.

What impressed me was how much time, effort and I can imagine, money Mr. Payne spent to save Little Man’s life when he was afflicted with an unknown toxin that almost killed him. I applaud Mr. Payne and his family for standing with Little Man to save him.

Fortunately, Little Man survived but today it is still a mystery as to what caused his affliction.

I highly recommend this book for any pet lover. It is a heartwarming story about a man and a cat who would not give up.

I also applaud Mr. Payne for starting a petition to improve pet food. As a certified animal behavior consultant I have seen firsthand what bad food can do to an animal.

https://www.facebook.com/mightylittleman2014/

https://www.mightylittleman.com/

https://www.change.org/p/united-states-congress-our-pets-are-dying-from-illegal-pet-food-ingredients-we-need-little-man-s-law

That Day by the Creek: A Novel About the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864

Although this book is not about animals, I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with all of you.

That Day by the Creek: A Novel About the Sand Creed Massacre of 1864, by John Buzzard, ISBN: 978-0-9891014-7-9; $14.49; 221 pgs, Cladach Publishing, www.cladach.com

History lovers will enjoy this book. While the main characters are fictional, other characters in this historical novel are real. The author does an excellent job of telling the true story of the events that led up to the massacre as well as the massacre itself. He shows us how the Indians, the settlers and the army felt. Buzzard has thoroughly researched the incident and includes the actual letters written by Robert Bent, Captain Silas Soule; Lieutenant Joseph Cramer; and Major Edward Wynkoop’s report in the appendix.

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Although this is a sad event in history, it is true and must not be forgotten. That Day by the Creek will help the reader understand how people felt, why they did what they did and the consequences of their actions. The book is an easy read, entertaining and educational making it an ideal book for teens, young adults and adults to read.

 

 

Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals That Served in WWI Allied Forces

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“There goes Little Jim!” the soldiers would call outfrom the trenches as an unusual messenger dog flew across the fields. Little Jim was a small black Pomeranian mix who was so fast that soldiers described him as a black streak.

In December of 1915 the soldiers of A Battery, 52nd Brigade, RFA, purchased a goose and gander to be fattened for Christmas dinner. However, some of the soldiers decided that they were too cute to eat. So a trial was held to determine their fate. It was decided that they should be mascots for the duration of the war. They traveled in the mess cart with their heads hanging out for the rest of the war. What a comical sight they made.

Pitoutchi the cat is credited for saving his masters life inthe trenches. How could a cat save a man’s life from the Germans?

One of England’s largest seaplanes went down in bad weather. The only hope for survival depended on a pigeon, one pigeon out of three that survived the crash. Did he make it?

The variety of animals and birds were involved in WWI is amazing. Any type of animal or bird could be a mascot. Some mascots went to battle and some stayed behind to cheer the wounded or relieve stress for the newly arrived soldiers.

Read these accounts and many others in the book Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals that Served in WWI- Allied Forces. An autographed copy of the book is available at www.sbulanda.com you can also purchase it on Amazon or at www.alpinepub.com

K9 Fraud! Fraudulent Handling of Police Search Dogs

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K9 Fraud! Fraudulent Handling of Police Search Dogs, by Resi Gerritsen & Ruud Haak; Publisher, Detselig Enterprises LTD Alberta, Canada; ISBN: 978-55059-393-8, $27.95, 216 pgs.

This is a very interesting book and one of the most unusual books that I have reviewed. While book is primarily about police dogs and scent specific work, it is very applicable for SAR units. Each chapter has a number of real cases which are reviewed. The lessons in this book can be applied to all SAR disciplines.

The authors refer to studies and tests that have been conducted over the past hundred plus years to verify how and why dogs work. For example they address the studies done to determine if dogs follow human scent or the disturbance on the ground.

Each chapter reviews actual cases and why there was fraud or not. Although the book points out flaws in handling and training, it is not done in an accusatory manner. The authors explain the common mistakes that dog handlers make which lead to fraud.

The case studies covered in this book are from around the world including some better known USA cases and are lessons for the SAR dog handler. They are also interesting to read for everyone else.

What is most important about this book are the lessons that the SAR dog handler can learn about how to properly handle cases that will hold up in court as well as how to properly train and handle their dogs. I highly recommend this book. An added benefit of this book is as a guide for lawyers and other people who are involved in legal cases that use canine evidence.

The chapters are:
Chapter 1: Fraud with Scent Identification Line-ups
Chapter 2: Dog’s Responsiveness to Human Gestures
Chapter 3: Fraud with Tracking Dogs
Chapter 4: Scent Research and Tracking Experiments
Chapter 5: Fraud with Mantrailing
Chapter 6: Human Odor and Dog’s Scent Perception
Chapter 7: Scent Problems and Training Problems
Chapter 8: Avoiding and Preventing Fraud
Section 1: Scent Identification Line-ups
Section 2: Management Attention: Intentional Fraud
Section 3: Civilians in Criminal Investigations
Section 4: Contamination of Scents
Section 5: Improper Training
Section 6: Insurance Fraud

K-9 SAR Novel – ‘The Canine Handler Payback’ by M.C. Hillegas

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By M.C. Hillegas, ISBN: 9781942430360; 273 pgs. $14.99; Publisher: Year of the Book.

This was an interesting and a surprising novel about Sarah, a volunteer canine SAR handler. The book is written from the three main character’s points of view which provided an interesting perspective for the story.

While this story is fiction, it did give the reader an inside look at what K9 SAR is like, the stresses and the problems that we all face. Ms. Hillegas is a real-life K9 handler which gave the story it’s realism. I found the story interesting because I am familiar with Codorus State Park, the setting for the searches.

The story weaves the life of Sarah, a woman who lived most of her youth being abused in the foster child care program, her efforts to leave her past behind and make a new life for herself. The searches are connected to each other and turn out to involve Sarah’s past. They are both homicides which require police investigation and surprisingly are also connected to a cold case.

The ending was a real twist and leaves the reader waiting for the continuation of the story which will be Ms. Hillegas’s next book.

Although this is a self-published book, the quality of the soft cover and pages are good. The font is clear and easy to read and for a first novel, Ms. Hillegas did very well.

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my new blog site!

ID-100373827Check back often (or subscribe via the button on the right) for posts to help pet owners with health, safety and training information; and to share information on dog training, behavior, and search and rescue. Additionally, I look forward to sharing:

  • Behind-the-scenes stories and excerpts from my published books
  • Safety and health tips focused on cats, dogs and parrots
  • Photos and stories about dogs I have trained through the years

Some of the questions I am asked most often revolve around dog training. Some basic tips include:

ID-10041702Remember, dogs do not speak English, therefore you must SHOW your dog what you want. Your actions speak louder than your words. All of your body language speaks to your dog. Therefore, your ATTITUDE, FACIAL EXPRESSION AND TONE OF VOICE communicate to your dog. You cannot try and tell your dog that he is not doing the right thing while you are hiding a laugh because you really think your dog’s behavior is cute or funny. Your dog will laugh right along with you. You cannot ask your dog to obey you if you hesitate in your movements. Your dog will not believe that you are the leader. On the other hand, you cannot bully your dog or physically punish him and expect your dog to respect and trust you. A good working relationship with your dog is built on trust and leadership. This is communicated to your dog by giving commands in a tone of voice that says, “I expect you to do this, no discussion.” Then move in a steady, yet gentle way to convey leadership.

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Never re-command your dog. If your dog knows what the word means, re-commanding him just teaches your dog that a) he does not have to listen to you; b)he can do it when he wants and c)you are not the leader. For every command there should be an action. Either you coax the dog into doing what you want or the dog does it. If your dog does not know the “sit” command, and you tell your dog, “Sit . . . Sit . . . SIT!”, then make the dog sit on the third sit, your dog will learn not to sit until the third command. He will think that the command is “sitsitsit.”

Most people repeat commands to their dog’s because they are being polite (according to human standards) and assume that the dog did not hear the first or second time. I can assure you that if your dog does not respond the fist time, and does not acknowledge you, he DOES HEAR you. He is just IGNORING you. Therefore, politeness to a dog translates into “My owner is wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Why should I listen?”

So, speak clearly and in a direct manner to your dog. For every command expect or initiate an action. Do not repeat commands. Do not hesitate when you move. Show your dog that you are a leader, not a follower.