Dog Sniffs Out Missing Dementia Sufferer


Dogs / Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
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Paul Coley enjoyed a successful career as a dog handler with the FBI in America. His time working with sniffer dogs had taught him just how skilled they are at seeking out drugs, weapons and even people. This gave him an idea for a new invention. Coley came up with a scent kit which can be used to store a person’s scent for up to ten years. If that person then goes on the missing list, a dog can be used to find them.


Coley felt that a scent kit could prove useful for dementia patients who are given to wandering off and getting lost.

The Scent Kit

The kit is made up of sterilised gauze which can be rubbed on a person’s underarm. The gauze is then sealed in a jar and stored. It can hold the odour for up to 10 years. If a person is lost, the gauze is much better than clothing for use with a sniffer dog because the odour will not have become contaminated with other scents.

Success Story

Recently a Floridian women with dementia went missing. It emerged that she had used one of the scent kits in 2015. Police then used the stored scent kit and a sniffer dog to track her down. A helicopter search using a heat seeking camera and a search by people on foot had already been conducted without success. It took the sniffer dog five minutes to find her! This was the first time that the scent kit had been utilised successfully. The dog, who was called Ally, received the reward of an ice cream cone!

Impressive Invention

Mr. Coley invented the scent kit when he realised just how hard it could be to find uncontaminated scents to use in searches for missing persons. He had been working on a case in 2013 when a college student went missing. The student accommodation was unsurprisingly a little less than clean and so it had proved impossible to find anything carrying the missing person’s uncontaminated scent.

Many people go missing every year but Mr. Coley’s kit was aimed at helping families with dementia sufferers. It has also been marketed to adventure sports enthusiasts who spend time in remote areas. Thousands of the kits are now in use, including some in Europe and the UK. The kits are inexpensive and some have even been distributed free of charge to vulnerable people via police departments in America.

Scent Kits for Pets

The kit is called Scent Evidence K9 and you can even get one for your pet! Simply swab your pooch, moggie or rabbit and store the gauze in the included jar. You might be able to find your furry friend using a sniffer dog in the event that they go missing.

Technology may have advanced significantly but dogs still reign supreme when it comes to tracking missing persons or pets. Dogs’ noses can contain as many as 300 million olfactory receptors compared with about six million for a human.

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