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November 28, 2022 50 min

You’ve probably seen it - dramatizations of search dogs, running through the woods, noses to the ground, looking for a missing person, or for human remains. We’ve got a weird fascination with this stuff in the media, but when it’s real life - well, if it’s your loved one those search dogs are looking for, it’s a whole different story.

What’s it like being the human half of a cadaver search dog team? Expert Cat Warren lays it all out this week. 


In this episode we cover: 


  • What’s it really like to work a crime scene with your dog? Is it cool or creepy?
  • How do we navigate fascination and respect when it comes to other peoples’ trauma?
  • Why people were mad that Cat’s book was more about the dog than it was a “true crime” exposé
  • The difference between resolution and closure
  • How do first responders and search teams deal with so many unhappy endings and unanswered questions?

Notable quotes: 

“True crime podcasts keep us at a safe distance. They allow us to enter into the sphere of death, but keep us far enough away from it that we don't need to experience any feeling of grief. Crime survivors don’t have that luxury.” - Megan Devine


About our guest:

Cat Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World. The book tells the story of learning to work with her impossible young shepherd as a cadaver dog to find the missing and dead. It won critical acclaim and was long listed for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. She taught science writing, journalism, and creative nonfiction at North Carolina State University for 26 years before retiring in 2021.

Additional resources


All of Cat’s information is at her website 

NY Times article on cadaver dogs and archaeology 

African American burial grounds & cadaver dogs


The Collective for Radical Death Studies


Get in touch:

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Here After with Megan Devine. Tune in, subscribe, leave a review, send in your questions, and share the show with everyone you know. Together, we can make things better, even when they can’t be made right. 


Have a question, comment, or a topic you’d like us to cover? call us at (323) 643-3768 or visit


For more information, including clinical training and consulting, visit us at


For grief support & education, follow us at @refugeingrief on IG, FB, TW, and @hereafterpod on TT


Check out Megan’s best-selling books - It’s Okay That You're Not Okay and How to Carry What Can’t Be Fixed

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