In Virginia, a Powhatan Sheriff's Office police dog managed to locate two children who had gone missing in the woods this past weekend, and he found them in only 15 minutes.
As evening began to fall on Saturday, a search party formed by parents and neighbors spent 45 minutes desperately looking for a boy and a girl, both eight years old, before calling 911.
The children had gotten lost playing in the woods. "We didn't know what to do," Chloe Reese told WRIC. "So, like we forgot which path we went down so we're like going through different paths trying to find the way back to our house."
Police deputies and K-9 Bane searched the home before heading off into the woods, Sheriff's Deputy Quinn Pasi told WRIC. It then took Bane only 15 minutes to track and locate the children. The heroic hound was rewarded with a Chick-fil-A ice cream.
Bane, a Dutch Shepherd, is specialized in narcotics detection and patrol work, according to his Facebook page, yet he also seems to have a knack for finding missing persons.
"As soon as the children were home safe, he was back on patrol eager for the next call for service," the sheriff's office wrote on Facebook. "Job well done K-9 Bane!"
The sheriff's office stated that the experience was proof that their K-9 program works, despite the fact that most agencies don’t have a budget to maintain them. According to the National Police Dog Foundation, a breed that is suitable for police work can cost upwards of $8,000 and that is without training. Following Bane’s successful mission last Saturday, Pasi has posted donation information for the K-9 division's training and equipment.
"Finding a lost child is satisfying and around itself, but professionally it kind of reassures the training and the time that we put into the program that it's actually working," Pasi, who is K-9 Bane's partner, told WRIC.
Bane tracks missing persons by detecting human scent as well as ground disturbance. He is able to pick up where someone has stepped based upon crushed vegetation and human scent, Pasi added.
The duties of police dogs include searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing persons, finding crime scene evidence, and confronting people targeted by the police. Police dogs must memorize verbal cues and hand gestures. The most commonly recruited breeds are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhound, Dutch Shepherd, and Indian pariah dog.
Recently, the Belgian Malinois has become popular for police and military work as a result of their strong drive and focus. Malinois are also smaller and more dexterous than German shepherds and usually have fewer health issues. Though a well-bred working line German shepherd is just as dependable and tough as a Malinois.