A police dog on his very first shift managed to find a missing mother and infant in under two hours, despite their remote location on the edge of a Welsh mountain. The rookie, a 2-year-old German shepherd cross named Max, jumped into action before noon on Saturday, when Dyfed-Powys police received a report that the woman hadn't been seen or heard from in two days. This was "out of character, and her phone wasn't working, so naturally concern for her safety was high," inspector Jonathan Rees-Jones tells the Guardian. The woman's car was soon located on a mountain road, but that left "a vast area to cover," says Rees-Jones. Luckily, Max "immediately commenced an open-area search," leading his handler over a significant distance to reach the mother and child near the edge of a steep ravine by 1:30pm.
The woman was waving for help when the handler spotted her with her 1-year-old. They were safe but cold after a night spent outdoors and needed help getting down the mountain, Rees-Jones says. "This was a fantastic coordinated and determined team effort," involving a mountain rescue team and police helicopter, "which no doubt ensured the safety of the mum and baby, who were at significant risk of harm." But "I must give a special mention to PC Pete Lloyd and Max, who on their very first day since completing their training together covered a significant amount of mileage ... eventually locating [the pair]," Rees-Jones adds, per the BBC. Lloyd, who trained with Max upon joining the police dog section in February, is clearly proud of his companion. "Max remained focused" and "proved invaluable," he says. (Read more police dog stories.)