December Monthly Gathering – What the Dog Smelled: The Science and Mystery of Underwater Cadaver Dogs

This program will be presented on Zoom only at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern), Saturday, December 16, 2023

In 2016 dive teams spent 12 days searching the waters of Elliot Lake in northern Ontario for the body of a drowned canoer and didn’t find a thing. When the cadaver dogs were called in, they needed just 15 minutes.

When a person drowns, their bodies may float to the surface. Alternatively, they may be snagged and held underwater, or if the water is deep and cold, they may never rise from the bottom. When bodies fail to rise, underwater searches by divers, especially in waters of limited visibility, are not always successful, and may be extremely hazardous. Consequently, cadaver dogs may offer another method of recovering sunken bodies that may otherwise never be found. Enter our guest speaker this month, Dr. Mary Cablk, the owner of Detection Science Solutions LLC, who is in the unique position of being both a scientist and a cadaver dog trainer. 

Join us at 7pm on Saturday, December 16, when Dr. Cablk will provide us with an overview of the world of cadaver dogs. These fascinating critters, with highly specialized training, are capable of picking up the scent of human remains buried more than ten feet underground, under collapsed buildings, or thick snow, and – most impressively, they can pinpoint the scent of human remains under almost 100 feet of water!

With a research career focused on applied science disciplines and decades of experience training, testing, and deploying detection K9s, Dr. Cablk possesses a unique skill set pertaining to the science of detection, both olfactory and optical. An internationally recognized expert, she has been fortunate to have been invited around the world to teach, speak and engage with detection K9 professionals in many disciplines, including human remains, explosives, narcotics, live humans, wildlife, and others. Dr. Cablk provides support for programs, provides expert witness consultation, translates detection science to practitioners, and addresses other needs relating to detection.

Dr. Cablk received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Tech, Masters Degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Management from Duke and her PhD in Forestry from Oregon State.

The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm (Eastern) for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm (Eastern). Please remember that all attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: . 

There is no charge for the Zoom presentation, but, due to rising costs, your donation via PayPal is greatly appreciated. Please donate! The amount is up to you. To donate go to and click on the “Send Money” tab. Enter the e-mail address and your payment amount.