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Aylmer: November 1999

On the evening of November 19th, OVSARDA was called out to a search for a missing 22 year old female, who had stepped into the woods behind a friend's house to walk her dog. She had previously gotten lost in the same area a few days earlier but had managed to find her way home. On this day, she had been missing for 4 hours already and was known to be terrified of the dark.

OVSARDA deployed one search dog team, and one navigator, to the search site. The Aylmer police had remained out of the woods, trying to minimize the scent contamination. A scent article (a running shoe) was obtained from the house and the dog was scented on it, then told to track. The dog immediately turned and, nose to the ground, followed a path leading from the backyard approximately 75m, then turned off the trail and plunged into the woods. Initially the dog tracked off-lead but the bush was so thick that the handler frequently lost sight of her, so she was placed on lead. The team continued to track for 90 minutes, approximately 4 kms, when word was relayed that the missing person had managed to wander out of the woods, approximately 800m ahead of the tracking dog, and onto a residential street.

The woman was scratched and frightened, but otherwise unharmed. Her dog had had a wonderful time!