Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, up to 10,000 times better than a human’s. An article posted on VCA Animal Hospitals by veterinarians shares why dogs have such powerful noses and how they use them. “Since dogs move their nostrils independently, they can determine the direction of an odor and use their sense of smell like a compass.”
That is why K9 officers are vital in locating drugs, explosives, and missing people.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office received a call on January 26 about a missing 11-year-old girl and sent Deputy Sarah Ernstes and K9 Mary Lu to the home to investigate.
Mary Lu, which appears to be a bloodhound, picked up the girl’s sent which first led to a neighbor’s house. The neighbors informed the officer that they gave the girl a ride to an apartment complex in Wimauma.
The team headed to the next known area where Mary Lu led them to a nearby park. She continued to search until she stopped in front of a locked park bathroom and started to wag her tail. Mary Lu’s “happy tail” was an indication to her partner that she found the missing child.
Officers were able to convince the girl to unlock the door and was found unharmed.
Bodycam footage of the search was shared on the department’s Facebook page where Mary Lu’s partner praises her for a job well done. The pup even went up to the missing girl and gave her a sloppy kiss.
What a good girl!
The whole department is proud of the team’s work. “Our teamHCSO K9 Unit has once again proven its invaluable role in our community,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “With their exceptional skills, they successfully located and brought home a missing 11-year-old girl, reuniting her safely with her family. I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s commitment to service and determination to protect and serve.”