Ok so he isn’t officially a worker but that’s what made this story even better! Rico is a 6-year-old Kokoni cross breed rescued from the kill pound in Portugal where he was due to be put to sleep in 2 days. Now he has gone on to rescue another dog!
Rico had behaviour problems. He was scared of humans and dogs so we undertook pet trail and man trail training with Becky Smith at Pet Trailer U.K. to help him gain confidence. This training had all been on hold because of Covid 19 restrictions. Then, in March 2021, we were out doing a days training for my job when we heard a family shouting, “Henry! Henry!” They had lost their dog on his walk.
Henry the missing dog was new to the family and not yet microchipped. They feared they would never get him home.
Although Rico had only ever done short set up fake trails for dogs as a hobby, I felt I had to give it ago. His long line was in the boot of my car so we tried! A scent article is what the trailing dog uses to establish who or what they are trying to find. With limited options available, I picked Rico up and popped him in the boot of the family’s car. The problem is, the car doesn’t just smell of Henry though, it smells of the whole family and their other dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever. To try and reduce this problem, I then let Rico sniff each of the 3 family members at the scene where Henry last was sighted, and their other dog, so that Rico could eliminate them from his search. This was something I had learnt from Pet Trailer U.K. as she is very thorough with her training and now I really understand why.
Off we went! We were on the search for Henry, accompanied by one of his family members to approach Henry if he was spotted, as he is nervous and would likely flee if approached by a stranger. Pretty early on Rico indicated across a river, twice, but I couldn’t get across. It was too deep and the other side of the riverbank was rocks enclosed with metal mesh which I could never scale. So we had to go the long way round, we went back over a bridge and then Rico re-joined the trail at the point he had indicated. He walked straight passed a food bank where Rico literally ignored all the food, as he was so focused on the task at hand.
He kept telling me to go through a broken-down, discarded lorry with the back down, but I couldn’t get down there. Instead, I picked him up onto a 5ft wall. He walked along the top to the end. Indicating again under a tunnel but there was no path, no safe way for us to go. I had to come up with another solution, so I took him off working and walked around to the original search point. Again Rico had to re-join the trail. This time he took us through some hellish undergrowth to the other side of where he had indicated before. Again, we couldn’t get through 6ft high green metal fencing. No way under, over or around. Rico tried every route we could find, but sadly as the evening started to draw in, Henry still wasn’t found.
I was disappointed but I also trust Rico implicitly and knew he was onto something. We just couldn’t find a point to re-join the trail.
As there was nothing more we could do, we headed home where I shared the story on my Instagram account @NosetotrailUK, urging owners to get a decent scent article for their pets by following @PettrailerUK’s step by step guide. You never know when your dog may go missing, and if Rico is going to help your pet be found – he needs something to work from!
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending, as a few hours later, the Jones family decided to go and have one more look for Henry. Exactly where Rico had taken them, the family found their dog! The owners contacted me on my Facebook page saying “Thank you so so so much for today!!! Please thank Rico for us!! We found him exactly where Rico was taking us!!! He was spot on!”