K-9 helps find missing teenager in North Carolina: ‘We’re just really thankful’

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A K-9 in North Carolina helped locate a missing teenage boy who had run away from home earlier this month.

Maverick, a 2-year-old English Labrador retriever, who is trained in tracking, quickly sought out the child in a wooded area in Union County, North Carolina, which is southeast of Charlotte, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

It took the dog and his handler, Deputy Josh Dye, less than an hour to find the teenager near U.S. Highway 601 on Aug. 1, after the boy’s family reported him missing.

Maverick knows how to put his sense of smell to work when it comes to track work, according to Lt. James M. Maye, a public information officer for the sheriff’s office.

“These tracking canines – primarily bloodhounds and Maverick – they use what we call a scent article and it’s something that a person has lived with, such as clothing that has their scent on that,” Maye said in an interview with “Good Morning America.” “In this case, this article that was used was a blanket that this juvenile had used, slept with, laid around the house with, so it was obviously saturated with the scent most associated with him.”

“When you’re walking down the road or walking down a path, you leave scent behind. And so Maverick picked up on that scent and was able to track it,” Maye told “GMA.”

The sheriff’s office celebrated Maverick’s quick work in a Facebook post, calling the dog a “huge asset” to the sheriff’s office.

“We’re just really thankful that this situation turned out great and that all the training that they do every day was put into use and then it worked just like it was supposed to,” Maye said.

Maverick was donated to the Union County Sheriff’s Office last December and, according to Maye, has quickly become an “office favorite.”

“He brightens up the mood every time he’s in the office. We’re just extremely proud of him,” Maye said.

Maverick is also trained in narcotics detection and often works with children at local schools, according to Maye. He is one of 13 K-9s with the department and the other sheriff’s dogs include a Black lab, some German shepherds, bloodhounds and Malinois.

Dye, who lives with Maverick and has been his handler since March, told “GMA” that the English lab in particular is “very friendly [and] very goofy at times.”

The teen’s family declined to comment for this story, according to Maye.


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