We made page 4 of the Mosman Daily today!
We are very chuffed to see that we have been featured in the Mosman Daily and the Daily Telegraph today, and want to thank them for including us in their story. Originally we were approached for an opinion on the lamp posts that kept coming down in the cemetery. A bit tongue in cheek, we supplied them with this photo of a ghost hanging on to a lamp post, for illustrative purposes only....Which somehow got lost in translation when they wrote the story!
What they ended up running as the story, ended up being what dogs tend to do in the St Thomas cemetery after it rains. They regularly dig and eat the soil. The reasons for this a fairly simple. Dogs have a hugely more sensitive nose than we do - it is their primary sense of experiencing the world, closely followed by their hearing. Between a third and a half of their brain is devoted to their sense of smell. Nearly every burial plot in St Thomas cemetery has more than one person in it - which means the second coffin, placed on top of the first, is only two feet or less ( 61 cm) from the surface. As water goes down into the ground, it permeates what is going on underneath. When it evaporates, traces of those chemicals can be smelled by dogs - and in the last vestiges of wolf DNA in their bodies, they recognise that smell as being associated with food. Hence, they regularly dig at, and eat the soil.
The Mosman Daily spoke with a local vet, who dismissed the idea that dogs could smell something that had been in the ground that long. This has caused a very interesting response from a lot of people who read todays article. I have received 18 telephone calls in the last two hours from people who live in the local area, who have observed their own dogs doing this over a period of years - and they are digging a bit too far to just be looking for rabbit or possum scats as pro-biotics . (If you ever needed any better reason than just common sense, not to tongue kiss with your dog.....!)
However, expecting a local vet to be across everything involving dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, birds, snakes and every other kind of animal is a very tall order - so it isn't a big stretch to simply say that she just wasn't aware of what forensic investigators and archaeologists are currently using cadaver dogs to find.
Currently, there is an archeologist in South Australia who is using a trained Labrador dog to find aboriginal remains up to 700 years old. In the USA, cadaver dogs are regularly used to locate civil war graves in the eastern states such as Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, companies such as Bigman Geophysical regularly use cadaver dogs to find civil war graves, ( 150 years old) and even revolutionary war graves ( 200 years plus old). The strike rate that they have of dogs alerting, to proven, found graves confirmed by a ground penetrating radar, was 85%!
However - the bottom line is that experts in the field, such as Steve Austin, the man who trains the Beagles for the Australian Quarantine Service, The NSW Police Dog squad, and many other experts here in Australia, can vouch for the fact that Dogs can smell things in the ground much older than 60 years old.
I want to thank all of the people who have rung, called and emailed today - and Hera the Ghost Guard dog and I look forward to seeing you on a tour with us, soon!