Ben Nuelle / for KCUR

Alda Owen of Fairport, Missouri is legally blind, and sees only outlines of images with the details blurred out. But still, she drives herself and her border collie, Sweet Baby Jo, a short way up the road to work cattle.

When she was just 10-years-old, doctors diagnosed Owen with histoplasmosis. She got the disease and went blind after collecting chicken eggs. It is caused by breathing in spores of a fungus found in bird droppings.  

To add to the struggle of being blind, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer in 2008.

  A certain breed of specialist is called in when someone is trapped, missing, or feared dead. These specialists are search and rescue dogs. On this edition of Up To Date,  a look that the lives of these canines and their powerful noses.


  • Cat Warren is the author of What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World.
  • Mark Kramer is the deputy director of Kansas Search and Rescue, Northern Region. 
Jim McLean / KHI News Service


The Unified Government’s commission chambers were jam-packed on Thursday night.

It wasn’t a controversy over a multi-million bond issue that brought people out. It wasn’t even the final step in the approval process for the city’s “healthy campus” downtown redevelopment plan.

It was a proposed change in the way the city deals with feral cats, stray dogs and pit bulls.

Tommy Lew /

Throughout the 20th Century our perception and treatment of cats and dogs changed from that of working animal to treasured companion. We brought them inside and made them members of our family. As society changed, however, those animals went from the constant stimulation from and occupation with the outdoor environment to that provided by stay-at-home mothers and children to often being home alone for eight hours or more every weekday.

Law enforcement dogs these days can do some incredible things: sniffing out the chemicals used to start an arson fire, getting illegal drugs off our streets, or finding evidence in shootings and explosives investigations.

On this edition of Up to Date, host Steve Kraske meets three law enforcement dogs, and their handlers, to find out what it takes for a dog to become a key part of a law enforcement team.


maplegirlie / Flickr - CC

Many of the communities around Kansas City have passed into law what some call "bully breed bans"—restrictions on specific breeds thought to be dangerous, like pit bulls and rottweilers. Kansas City does not have any bans, but the city does require all pit bulls to be spayed or neutered.

The following area communities do have pit bull bans:

• Independence, Mo.
• Leawood, Kan.
• Liberty, Mo.
• Marion, Kan.
• Overland Park, Kan.
• Platte City, Mo.
• Prairie Village, Kan.
• Roeland Park, Kan.
• Shawnee, Kan.

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Proposition B squeaked in last night by two points.

Supporters say the measure will require dog breeders to provide safer and cleaner conditions for animals.

At the 75th Street Brewery, a group of nearly forty had dwindled to seven when Proposition B was declared victorious just before midnight. Dispelling some campaign rumors, a spokesperson for the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs says they have no other plans to set up rules for the treatment of animals in business or agriculture in Missouri.