A heartwarming story of a dog searching out two missing girls in Ontario is melting hearts all over the internet.
After 90 minutes of searching for the two 16-year-old girls who were missing in Ontario’s Algonquin Park, Zoe the dog, started giving out signs that she had picked up a scent. “That’s what you want to look for when the dogs acquire a track. There’s a physical cue, or a difference in their behaviour,” said Scott Gannon, an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police Canine Unit.
The two-and-a-half-year-old Labrador retriever, Zoe, had her nose down to the ground and sniffing more in one particular area, wagging her tail and getting excited, said Gannon. Gannon, Zoe, and two members of the Emergency Response Team were part of the four search and rescue (SAR) dog teams which had flown in on float planes to search for the missing girls- Maya Mirota and Marta Malek. They did not meet up with their camping group in the provincial park’s western sector and were declared missing.
The four teams followed the hiking trail where the girls were last seen, search dogs are looking for a human scent, said Clifford Samson, a trainer in the OPP Canine Unit. During their search, “you could see where [Zoe] became excited,” Gannon said. Till Zoe doesn’t pick up a scent, she will have to stay close to Gannon. But the moment she gets a track, she will keep on searching till she finds the source.
“She became excited and we watched her and then she proceeded to go down the trail,” Gannon said. As Zoe went further and further, Gannon and the crew started calling the names of the girls, who responded by blowing a whistle 3 times and gave their names correctly to the police on being asked.
They then told the girls to stay put and they followed the dog to where they were, the girls were in good physical condition, a bit dehydrated and covered with insect bites, said Gannon. “They were very excited and happy to see us, and we were the same way,” Gannon said. “They both gave us hugs.” They were excited to see Zoe and asked if they could pet her.
The girls had set up camp for 3 days in an effort to get the attention of any aircraft flying overhead, but as they weren’t in an an open area, they couldn’t be spotted easily said Gannon. “So today they decided to walk, and they ended up walking on to this trail and then we just happened to come up behind them using the dog.”
They walked the girls back about 1.5 kilometres, to where a float plane was waiting to take them back to the OPP command post, Samson said. Thank God for Zoe the Labrador who was able to sniff out the girls and rescue them.