Although they are often shown on television and in movies, it may be difficult to truly grasp how brave, daring, and heroic a search and rescue (or SAR) dog can be.
In the summer of 2016, an elderly man mired in the mud and pleading for assistance was saved by an unlikely hero who emerged out of nowhere. The dog at issue in this case was a German Shepard called Luca.
It was planned for two elderly men to visit a huge Texas junkyard in quest of auto components. One of the guys discovered his dementia-stricken partner was nowhere to be located while the men sat in the blazing Texas heat. Concerned about his companion’s absence, the guy called the authorities for aid.
A significant number of officers and helicopters eventually joined forces to search for the missing man. They were concerned that his dementia had led him to get confused and lose track of his whereabouts when he ventured off.
Because of the high temperatures in Texas and the passage of time, he was in danger of heat stroke. The cops recognized they needed the aid of their long-time canine buddy after a lengthy and futile search. At this point, Luca, the German Shepherd, had already been retired, but he was still known as the best search and rescue dog ever.
Cole, Luca’s manager, was certain that he could handle the assignment since he had an established track record. When a crisis happens that necessitates the immediate reaction of trained search and rescue dogs, such as discovering a missing child or identifying human remains, the dogs are well-mannered and well-trained canines that can be relied on to come to the rescue. SAR dogs and their professional handlers are ready to help in any emergency, whether it’s in the wild or in the city. This is because they know a lot and have been trained well.
Luca was a fantastic search and rescue dog for many years before retiring. He was particularly good at looking for huge expanses, sources of water, and forests. He did mountain climbing, rode ski lifts and snowmobiles in freezing weather, and flew helicopters to deserts to execute life-saving operations. All of the traveling and hard days took their toll on Luca, who Cole retired at the age of nine.
Officer Brock went to his neighbor’s house and picked up Luca after teaching him to follow human scent, knowing that every minute that passed reduced the odds of a full recovery. They then scoured the area until they found the missing individual,” the Fort Worth Police Department said on Facebook about the Luca hunt.
Luca instantly returned to his training as they strolled through the salvage yard. Luca provided a specific indication when the search and rescue team came upon an opening in the bush that led to an incredibly steep drop down to the Trinity River. The Trinity River is a 710-mile-long river that runs entirely inside the state of Texas in the United States of America. The river’s headwaters are located in far northern Texas, just south of the Red River. According to Trinityara, the Red River’s towering cliffs on the south side separate the headwaters.
Although Cole couldn’t see anything, Luca made it quite clear that this was the path the team needed to take. Due to the rough terrain, the helicopter on the scene reacted quickly and discovered the missing man knee-deep in the river. He was on the other side of the bank from where Luca had sounded the alert. The fast-moving water threatened to knock the guy down, and he had little leverage since he was stuck in the mud.
The officer quickly stripped naked and went into the river to save the guy. Luca was critical in discovering this guy less than eight hours after he went missing, saving him from drowning or hypothermia.
Once you’ve been a hero, there’s no going back. Luca is a good example of how dedicated an older dog is to search and rescue. He has the patience and intelligence that older dogs have.
Luca was selected as Hero Dog of the Year in 2017 for his service in search and rescue.
Luca’s profile on the Hero Dog Awards website says: “His passion for SAR illustrates the resilience of senior dogs and how training does not go away merely because they retire.”