Monday, March 06, 2006
'Buddy' finds dead people with his nose
Buddy gets up every day and can't wait to get to work. No complaining, just a methodical, business-like approach to his job.

That's amazing when you consider more often than not Buddy spends his entire day looking for dead people.

Buddy, you see, is a six-year-old German shepherd and a "cadaver dog." He is trained to find dead people.

Buddy went into a house in the Lakeview section of New Orleans Sunday, hit the brakes and immediately looked toward the ceiling. A short while later, a grim find in the attic -- the mummified remains of a man in a crawl space.

This man probably died more than six months ago during Hurricane Katrina. While it's not easy to say, the state medical examiner believes he died a terrible death.

Just two days earlier, on Friday, the city police checked the same house and found nothing. Without Buddy's keen nose following up on Sunday, the house would have been torn down, the remains of this man likely swept away with the debris.

But now, with DNA testing yet to come, there should be some sense of closure for this man's family.
Posted By Sean Callebs, CNN Correspondent: 12:58 PM ET
  46 Comments
I just really can't believe it took this long to start back up the searches.......It's almost as if we are living in a 3rd World Country
Posted By Anonymous David, San Antonio-TX : 1:19 PM ET
Thank you for continuing to remember to mention the animals - even though Buddy was obviously one of the lucky few were taken with their guardians (or ALLOWED to), I believe your reporting on how the animals were abandoned and neglected both before, during and after Katrina hit did a lot to draw people's attention to their plight. Thank you again !
Posted By Anonymous Tina, Fridley, MN : 1:29 PM ET
You wonder just how thorough they were being if they're finding corpses that quickly...
Posted By Anonymous JL Sigman, Columbia, SC : 1:30 PM ET
Good job, Buddy! This is why dogs are "man's best friend." And so much smarter and more compassionate than many humans...dare I say the humans in the White House and FEMA? Buddy is doing a better job than all of them...
Posted By Anonymous Ann, Bryn Mawr, PA : 1:33 PM ET
God bless this dog, now this unidentifed mans remains can finally be at rest.There are much more to be found in this process. It is absolutley unbelievable how 6 months later we are still unable to help the people of New Orleans. It seems like almost everyone has forgotten that these poor people need help. In the midst of Mardi Gras there is still alot of work left that needs to be done. We need to help these people rebuild their lives and help them get back to normal. Its an awful shame that the government has let this go on for so long. Not even victims of the Tsunami waited this long for help. Why should we.
Posted By Anonymous Mildred, Bronx New York : 1:38 PM ET
This was an issue brought up in September while the NG was still in the area. The NG and FEMA knew there were still people there (deceased), but we were not given access to the cadaver dogs. It is about time (6 months late) the dogs are being used.
Posted By Anonymous John Williams, Columbia, MO : 1:42 PM ET
Search dogs and their human handlers are a sorely unrecognized asset to our society. SAR teams are generally volunteers who train countless hours, under conditions most of us would never imagine being, hoping that one day they may be able to use their skills for good. My hat is off to Buddy and his handler for bringing relief to this man's family.
Posted By Anonymous Azucena, Birmingham, AL : 1:52 PM ET
I would think that checking airducts wouldn't be on the top of a list when looking for a body. I'm glad we can have great dogs like 'Buddy' to help us solve these mysteries and bring closure to families all around.
Posted By Anonymous Kelsey, Jefferson City, MO : 1:55 PM ET
I think this dog shold be patroling that entire city. Every nook and cranny so that the families that haveloved ones missing can know if their family member is dead.
Posted By Anonymous Zach Parquette Phenix City,AL : 1:55 PM ET
it's possible for a human search team to do a very thorough job, and still not find someone. A cadaver dog's sense of smell is really incredible. While apparently hidden enough for searchers not to see, a dead body in a house for 6 months to a cadaver dog, would be the equivalent of sitting right in front of the door to humans.
Posted By Anonymous Search and Rescue Volunteer, NH : 2:01 PM ET
The death toll will soon rise again, hopefully not by much.
Posted By Anonymous Jenn, Orlando, Florida : 2:09 PM ET
It seems everything associated with this storm has been backwards, I have to really wonder who is running our country, state and local governments. These dogs were tied up by red tape for months and should have been used so much earlier. I can see how the first responders can miss a body, if you have seen pictures of the inside of these houses...you too would understand. I am glad they are using the dogs, and understand that they are expecting to find hundreds of more bodies. It doesn't make sense.
Posted By Anonymous William, New Orleans, LA : 2:11 PM ET
These dogs are very special creatures. I am thankful to see this is happening. It is hard enough to go through such a terrible loss, but it is so much more painful when you don't have the knowledge of what really occurred and are left to wonder just what may have happened. I just don't understand why it has taken so long for the dogs to be brought to search these places, but that is just one more thing to add to the long list of things I don't understand about this whole tragedy. Thanks for keeping us informed. And thank you Buddy!
Posted By Anonymous Victoria Monaca, PA : 2:12 PM ET
Its a shame they didn't use these dogs sooner. I really think they need to have those dogs go thru every bit of that whole area to make sure there are no more bodies, before they start removing that debris. Its pretty obvious that the searchers didn't do a very good job.
Posted By Anonymous Jean, St. Charles, Mo : 2:19 PM ET
UNBELIEVABLE...!!! What is wrong with your government..!! Why weren't these wonderful dogs allowed to do their job as soon as the waters receeded..? Gross incompetance from the top down. I fear for your country if this is how it deals, or more to the point, DOESN'T deal with catastrophies.
Posted By Anonymous Mar, London, Ontario : 2:19 PM ET
I have to say that dogs are a great use for many things. People often mirepresent that they just either do best sitting on a chain or taking up space on a sofa. Dogs have alot more inteligence then we give them credit for. I think we should do more as far as training for people and animals. I think there should be more protection for animals and their well being.
Look what happens when their is a earthquake or some castrophic disaster that we are not aware of ? The animals take off. Now I find that a bit odd and also intriguing.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa Haskell, Gardiner, Maine : 2:26 PM ET
Having worked with scenting dogs for over twenty years, I'm seldom amazed at the way they continue to aid us in our time of need. It's too bad it took this long for some one to finally deploy them to the area. It's too bad this precious resource is often over looked. Or worse, not enough of them are trained and available.
Posted By Anonymous D. Evans, North Beach, MD : 2:27 PM ET
Man's best friend in so many ways. Their abilities never cease to amaze me. Hopefully Buddy and his handler will give 'closure' to many families out there still waiting.
Posted By Anonymous Colleen ,Ottawa ,Canada : 2:27 PM ET
Thank you for continuing to report about the ongoing devastation in New Orleans, both for humans and pets. Don't let this nation forget how much that region still needs from us all!
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Dublin, NH : 2:27 PM ET
It saddens me that it took this long to start up a search again (while being offended by the 3rd world country comment). I agree that the search for remains should have continued non-stop until the entire area was cleared of bodies. This shows how this city and who knows what other cities in the United States are really not prepared for a catastrophic event. I question whether LA, San Francisco, etc. are prepared for a Tsunami that can easily wipe out one of those cities. With FEMA being on the spot light now, I wonder also if they are really concentrating in making FEMA better while investigating what went wrong during Katrina.
Let's fix the problem rather than point blame at each other. I can guarantee that all of those families that lost loved ones during this storm wish that they would fix the problem instead of blaming one another (FEMA and The Department of Homeland Security)
Posted By Anonymous Esteban-Arlington, TX : 2:28 PM ET
To those of you complaining about how long it took for the federal government to come through, my question is, since when has it been their job to baby everyone and every situation that occurs in the country? Every time anything happens, everyone seems to point to the various governments and push blame and ask 'why has this taken so long', or 'why hasn't that been done already'.

Maybe the people in this country need to start doing some things for themselves. Organizing our own search parties and securing cadaver dogs ourselves.

It scares me that we rely so heavily on the Federal Government. It's a bad direction to be heading.
Posted By Anonymous Justin in Columbus, Ohio : 2:52 PM ET
What I would like to know is Why would the goverment,state and local allow the search to stop, When everyone knew that there where still people missing. For 6 month's these body's have been just sitting,while family members have suffered not knowing.These are people in houses,cars and attics,People that can be found,not people swept out to sea. I think Bush, Brown,Blanco and Nagin should each have to walk with a cadaver dog to each and every building,home,appartment in and out of the city to get a full understand on why the seach should of never ended until each and every missing person was accounted for. I never thought I would say this but at this point and time I'm not proud to be an american. I'm embarrassed and ashamed.
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie Belmont, New York : 3:15 PM ET
Even untrained dogs have a larger range when it comes to their sense of smell. I am saddened that six months later the dogs are finally being used. This just goes to show you that the govenment did not use all the resources to them.
Posted By Anonymous TracyLyn Detroit,MI : 3:17 PM ET
I agree, we all need to take more responsibilty for ourselves and it probably is wise to not wait for the government to step in, however, we ALL support our government with our tax dollars and we SHOULD be able to look to them for help in any disaster. Individually, we don't have the resources or money (most of us don't) to get through a disaster. United, we stand; divided, we fall.
It is too bad that it took 6 months for Buddy and others to begin a thorough search. It should have been done months ago. It's hard to move on when you're still dealing with the loss of a loved one that hasn't been found. Hopfully Buddy and his friends can help some move on. Dogs Rule!!!
Posted By Anonymous Lee Fairfield Iowa : 3:28 PM ET
What took so long? These dogs were out immediately after 9/11...another example of the lack of planning and execution involved with this whole Katrina debacle...
Posted By Anonymous Emily Kurtz, NYC, NY : 3:32 PM ET
interesting story way to go buddy!!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous erica,amanda,dardanelle,ar : 3:41 PM ET
Dogs help bring closure in painful situations-just look at Buddy. Others sniff car after car alerting their trainers about contraband drugs. Still others brave the traffic and help their disabled masters cross busy streets and live useful lives. However can we question the love and loyalty of mans' best friend? My two beloved friends follow me from room to room in hopes of our finding a comfy couch and burying their cold noses against me. They protect me from phantom noises and have barkathons at night,the small one wakes me up in the morning, and the three of us have daily happy hour, each of us waiting for our kibbles. No, mine are not service dogs;not unless you count teaching how to love a career.
Posted By Anonymous Joanne, San Diego : 3:45 PM ET
If only it were so easy to secure cadaver dogs or any type of search and rescue animal. Part of why people expect our government to step up is the fact we pay for the service in the form of taxes. Millions of our dollars go to support the agencies and supply them with both the manpower and the supplies needed to be there in an emergency. And that's why we can safely point a finger and say do something. We have done our something already by contributing to the government coffers that ought to be fixing these type of problems. And then most of us stepped up again when it became obvious that the people running the programs who should have helped, were involved in their own round of finger pointing. Unless I'm mistaken, search and rescue animals and their handlers as well as most red cross volunteers are there on their own dime. They pay for their training, supplies and they take the financial hit when they leave their own jobs and homes to help. But in the midst of a round of governmental 'you aren't authorized' they can't even get to where they are needed.
We pay insurance premiums and taxes in effect trying to take care of ourselves. But the megacompanies find itty bitty wording that lets them out of actually paying. And the powers that be can't decide who's in charge. How can we take care of ourselves any better than we have been? We are doing exactly what we are supposed to do but government red tape and corporation legaleze can slam us back down. Does anyone expect the federal government to show up at a car accident? No. But for a major national disaster, yes. That's what they are supposed to be there for.
Posted By Anonymous Holly Rochester NY : 3:52 PM ET
I can't believe they haven't already been searching for bodies! That's absolutely horrible! Those poor people and their famlies! What kind of country are we living in!? Help those poor people down there!
Posted By Anonymous Mae Aldridge, Moberly, MO : 3:53 PM ET
It takes so long, because the devastation is beyond our comprehension. Mistakes and feet-dragging when Katrina was doing this deed happened when no one comprehended. Finding bodies will take a long time, and rebuilding will take a longer time. Have patience. It will happen.
Posted By Anonymous Margaret Roark, Kamiah, ID : 4:02 PM ET
I can understand the MIA's we are still finding in Viet Nam and other battle sights around the world, due to the fast landscape to be searched. Not knowing all the facts around the Katrina situation, in todays America it is hard to believe that we are just finding MIA's in N.O. Good job Buddy, dedication and love with the goal to please drives you. Some in our world and government should learn from you! Thanks Buddy
Posted By Anonymous M. Duciewicz, Hewitt, New Jersey : 4:45 PM ET
Thank God for special animals like Buddy. How wonderful that Buddy is able to help in a horrific situation.
Posted By Anonymous Marsha Schultz Bradley IL : 4:45 PM ET
I can only hope that before construction crews start clearing debris there is actually a thorough search for bodies. I can't imagine not knowing what happened to a loved one and wondering for the rest of my life if they were just treated as "debris" that needed to be removed.
Posted By Anonymous Veronica, Austin TX : 4:49 PM ET
Wayb to go, Buddy! What a wonderful boy...they truly are our best friends. Thank you for continuing to bring these precious animals to the forefront.
Posted By Anonymous Lea, Dallas, Texas : 5:09 PM ET
The person who wrote, "I just really can't believe it took this long to start back up the searches.......It's almost as if we are living in a 3rd World Country," I just don't think that this person, nor the majority of others, really can comprehend the magnitude of the type of conditions workers had dealt with--and still are dealing with.

I think we all should be thankful that there are folks out there working, getting the job done, and trying their best to bring closure to so many victims of this tragedy.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Westland, MI : 5:33 PM ET
Hooray for search dogs in the news!
Posted By Anonymous K. Earnest, Manhattan, KS : 5:34 PM ET
Thank you, Anderson, for continuing to focus on what really matters in our turbulent world and for bringing the thoughtfulness and intelligence of animals to light.
Posted By Anonymous Sandra Griffin, Mission Viejo, CA : 5:55 PM ET
Stop blaming the government for everything people. We do pay tax dollars and their effort should have been more prompt and swift. It isn't exactly easy to plan for Natural Disasters you fools. Start coming up with ideas to help as opposed to trashing the government that protects us every day. Better yet, why don't you go live somewhere else and see how good we actually have it here. Typical pessimistic approach that is just mind boggling to me. So easy to point fingers and cast blame. The real problem is people like you who blame everything on the government that protects us every day. People like you who pass judgement on the people who are doing the best they can. People like you that spread doubt and hate as opposed to love and solutions. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Waukesha, WI : 6:00 PM ET
Whenever I go home to New Orleans, I try to visit the worst areas like the lower 9th Ward and Lakeview where houses were flattened. On my visits, I could see just through casual observations that it was highly likely that LOTS of houses could not have possibly been searched. The destruction was too severe. It is also highly likely, especially in the lower 9th Ward, that there are human beings still in those houses. The destruction was much more widespread and there were many older people living there who had survived hurricanes in the past. I am sure they will find many more bodies of our sisters and brothers when the wreckage is moved. Missing numbers will decrease, the death toll will increase and the national shame and disgrace will be more apparent. This has taken too long.
Posted By Anonymous Paige B., New Orleanian in Dallas : 6:05 PM ET
while it is unfortunate, these things happen and that's why we have a k9 unit. now his family will know what happened to him
Posted By Anonymous joe, cleveland, ohio : 6:06 PM ET
Agree, terrible that it's taken so long to re-start the search; it is, unfortunately, typical of our bloated bureaucratic government: officials spend most of their time protecting their turf & their budget, rather than fixing the problem at hand. Then again, anybody truly able to deal competantly with a disaster of a Katrina magnitude is likley already working in corporate America, earning a LOT more money on the private side with significantly less frustration involved... With respect to "man's best friend" I find it HORRIFYING that evacuees were forced to leave their pets behind by heartless officials. For many people, their pet IS their de-facto child or life partner and the trauma would have been just awful. Myself, I'd have stayed behind with my dog, for sure! Take me, take my dog, or you don't take me at all.....Dear friends of mine drove all the way to Louisiana put forth heroic efforts in Animal Rescue and the stories they brought back with them would make anybody's hair stand on end...Heartrending....
Posted By Anonymous N. Eklund, Santa Ynez, CA : 6:12 PM ET
Better late than never. I am thankful that as more bodies are found, family members' questions and searches will be ended. Living in limbo is very stressful. Many people need closure concerning the fate of their missing loved ones. I hope that more Buddies can assist.
Posted By Anonymous Brenda, New Orleans, LA : 6:56 PM ET
Thank GOD for our animals!! Buddy and his handler need to be commended, their job will not be easy physically or emotionally. Animals need to be treated with respect since they give us unconditional love at all times!!
Posted By Anonymous Tina, Madison Heights, VA : 7:04 PM ET
Although he isn't saving lives, Buddy is nothing less than a hero, because he is giving families their missing loved ones back, and relieving their agony.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 7:08 PM ET
Ironically, some of the people these dogs will find are dead because of their love of dogs and would not evacuate without being able to take their pet with them. If nothing else was learned about animals as a result of Katrina, I hope officials now recognize that pets are like kids to many people and include them in evacuation plans, if the government ever makes any.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico : 7:16 PM ET
People like Joe of Chicago, IL and Rod Venger of Co., do not fully understand what racism or the impact it has on people of color and women. I wish the world could feel what it is like to walk into a store and automatically be thought of as a potentially thief, or get the 'ugly' stare from another person who doesn't like the color of your skin, or the woman or man who grabs their belongings thinking you may want them. WE are a country that perpetuates racism we want to label everything and everyone. And for people like you who think reverse discrimination is a bigger problem you only have your ancestors to blame. You reap what you sow.

Best solution, think before you act, before you open your mouth. Put yourself in someone else's skin and/or shoes.
Posted By Anonymous Kelley cleveland, Oh : 10:18 AM ET
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