working for humanity
working for humanity
Samaritan Detection Dogs
Samaritan Detection Dogs 

We can provide handler/canine teams for urgent search & rescue situations

We have spent decades honing our skills looking for people who have gone missing because of homicide, abduction, suicide, dementia, and those who simply had some bad luck in the outdoors. We have had hundreds of hours of training and have responded to and managed some of the largest missing person situations in the Midwest.

Our handler/canine teams are trained for:

  • Tracking/trailing
  • Area search
  • Human remains detection

Our dogs meet or exceed the standards put forth by the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR) and/or the Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal Detector Guidelines (SWGDOG). 

Cold-case/Missing Person Recovery

We can provide you with trained and experienced search managers who specialize in the planning and resolution of cold-case/missing persons situations. We will work with your investigators to plan and execute strategic field searches.


Our canines have experience locating the odor of human remains decomposition that is only a few hours old to hundreds or thousands of years old. Scientific research has identified nearly 500 volatile organic compounds related to human decomposition (A. Vaas et al 2008, Carabello 2014).


We have worked on missing person cases that were only hours old to 45 years old. The dogs have located evidence like drops of human blood and bone fragments in large open areas, and molecules of fresh decomposition odor emitting from closed vehicles.

Stages of vertebrate decomposition in outdoor terrestrial environments 


Stage      Description                          Insect activity                                 Odor evolution 

Fresh       First hours following death      Initial attraction of flies to carcass      Minimal perceived odor 

               Onset of autolysis                  Oviposition in body orifices

               Rigor mortis, livor mortis,

               algor mortis


Bloat       Onset of putrefaction              Continued attraction and oviposition    Strong odor, typically                      Gas accumulation due to         Development of fly larvae and initial    perceived as containing                  microorganisms and macro-    larval masses formed                          sulfur compounds,

              molecule breakdown                                                                       methane, and ammonia


Active     Deflation of the body               Active consumption of tissue               Strong and complex

Decay     High rate of tissue removal      by matured insect larvae                     odor comprising a wide

              by microorganisms, insect                                                                array of compounds

              activity, and macromolecule



Advanced  Reduction in moisture            Reduced insect activity and                Reduction in perceived    

Decay       Some remaining tissue           migration of fly larvae region             odor but still present and 

                typically in torso                    Colonization by beetles                      complex


Dry          Hair, cartilage and bone          Minimal fly and beetle activity            Reduced odor, perceived 

Remains   remains, mineral degradation  Regular assemblage re-established     mostly from surrounding                                                                                                                    soils                                                                             F. Verheggen et al., BioScience 67: 600–613

Ground Penetrating Radar

When the dogs locate the odor of human remains decomposition we can apply our ground penetrating radar unit to scan the sub-surface soil in the area to assess for possible buried remains. This combination of the dog's nose and the radar technology can provide timely information to law enforcement to support the decision to dig or not to dig at that location. NOTE; It is important to understand that if human remains have been moved from the area the decomposition odor can remain in the soil in that location for decades or even much longer. In fact, the molecules that make up those volatile organic compounds can move hundreds of yards in the sub-surface moisture and can be pulled into the root systems of neighboring vegetation.

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Samaritan Detection Dogs



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