Little George Jordan gives Roxy a hug of appreciation after the bloodhound helped track him down on Sunday afternoon.
By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
The call came in to 911 dispatch at 2:24 on Sunday afternoon.
A four year-old boy had been playing in the yard at his home on Copperhead Road, just off Racetrack Rd., but had apparently wandered off. He was nowhere to be seen, the child’s father, Jeff Jordan, told dispatch.
The sheriff’s department notified Hunter Hound’s Search and Rescue Department about the missing child, and Josh Rifenbark and his bloodhound “Roxy” were on the scene in a little while. Within two minutes of arrival at the boy’s home, Roxy was searching.
A few minutes later, Cassandra Mize appeared with her Golden Retriever search dog “Major.” The team and their dogs searched all around the boy’s home to no avail.
The dogs, on 33 ft. leads, were eager to go to the neighboring property and wanted to track behind the house.
There was a swimming pool behind the house, and that is the first place Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Coffey looked, said Rifenbark. Thankfully, little George Jordan, nick-named “G,” wasn’t in the pool.
The dogs led the team behind the neighbor’s house to a locked chicken coop. That’s where
they found little “G,” who had squeezed in at the bottom of the locked door to the coop, and had fallen asleep when he couldn’t get out. He later told rescuers that he was going to get eggs.
David Conrad, president of Hunter Hounds, said the boy’s father asked how he could ever repay the search and rescue team.
“Just finding him was payment enough,” said Conrad.
Rifenbark said the relief and joy he felt at finding the little boy was much like that which he experienced when his first child was born.
Hunter Hounds Search and Rescue is named after Hunter, the bloodhound who was killed by a neighbor on Red Lick.
Conrad said the volunteer team trains their dogs frequently and that the dogs can follow a person’s scent, even if all they have to go on is something as small as a ring.
Burning a t-shirt that a person has been wearing does not destroy the scent, and the dogs can follow a person’s scent through water or rain, which Conrad and Rifenbark both said holds scent even better.
They also train frequently in the middle of the night. Conrad said that is more for their benefit than that of the dog, because the dogs don’t have any trouble navigating in the dark.
The search and rescue team has 23 teammates, and ten of them showed up for Sunday’s search. They also sometimes do community training exercises to show people how the dogs can track.