WashU researcher Karen DeMatteo with scat-sniffing research dog.

Sniffing out error in detection dog data

New research by Karen DeMatteo, a biologist in Arts & Sciences, finds three alternative explanations beyond errors in handler or dog training that can explain why dogs trained to identify scat for conservation purposes sometimes collect non-target scats.

Scat-sniffing dog helps save endangered primates

A scat-sniffing dog by the name of Pinkerton may be the best friend ever for a small, highly elusive group of endangered monkey and gibbon species now scrambling for survival in the vanishing forests of a remote Chinese mountain range. The high-energy Belgian Malinois is a critical player in efforts to preserve the black-crested gibbon and the Phayre’s leaf monkey.

Pet inheritance: the trouble with Trouble’s money

Estate planning with Fido in mind? Better be careful, says a trusts and estates expert at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. The issue has been in the news recently. British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who died in February 2010, left a sizeable sum of money to his beloved dogs; Trouble, the recently deceased dog of “The Queen of Mean,” Leona Helmsley, famously inherited $12 million. Beyond celebrities, a powerful pet inheritance constituency thrives. Between 12 percent and 27 percent of owners have provisions for their pets in their wills. But what happens to the inheritance when the pet passes?