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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Boy Scout on Hike Discovers Lost Couple and Injured Dog, Helps Lead All to Safety

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A 12-year-old boy scout is being recognized for helping rescue a couple who got lost while hiking in Hawaii back in August.

The couple, JD and Aimee, had only intended to go on an easy 2-mile hike with their dog, but they got turned around and ended up seven miles into the trail.

That might not have been too bad, but to make matters infinitely worse, it was getting dark, they had no extra food or water, their cellphone was dead, and their dog — a 100-pound pit bull named Smokey — had cut up his feet and was unable to continue, according to KITV-TV.

But they were about to be rescued: Boy Scout David King, 12, and his mother, Christine, ran into the stranded trio as they were three miles away from completing a 15-mile merit badge hike (impressive in its own right, especially since David had already played in a soccer game that morning).

The Kings could show the couple the way out, but that didn’t solve the issue of the gimpy pup, and their cellphones didn’t have service.

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But David had an idea, recalling something his older brother, an Eagle Scout, once told him about.

“So we built them a stretcher using a, using a big tree branch that we broke in half and we used our shirts and like slid it on and used the armholes to fit the sticks through,” David told KHON-TV.

Mom wasn’t so sure, but it was worth a try.

“It was his idea to make the stretcher,” she said. “Because we didn’t think it was going to work because we didn’t think a dog would get on a stretcher. But the dog was so tired, Smokey, that he was just very happy to get on the stretcher and we just carried him out.”

Smokey must have sensed that salvation was nigh and was a good sport about getting up onto and remaining on the makeshift stretcher. Still, between the four of them, it was slow going lugging the large dog along the trail, and they had to take many breaks.

“It was really tough, but we rotated,” the 12-year-old said. “So sometimes we did four people, one on each side, or two on each side, and then go to two people — like my mom and the man — and then we’d go back, and then the dog would get off and walk some which was really helpful and let us relax.”

The whole group made it safely to the trailhead, and Smokey later received medical attention and is doing well.

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Many people have commented to commend the boy and his mother, and to suggest that the hike he completed might be worth more than one merit badge.

While the couple was underprepared for the outing they had, no doubt they’ll be more prepared for next time — something that’s second nature for David.

“Make sure that whenever you’re doing an activity, always think of what can go wrong and how you can prevent it,” David said.

It was a big day for David, and his sense of accomplishment was doubled by being able to help others: “I think that when you help someone out it’s like there’s something, like joy in you, that’s just like, you know you did something good that day.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking