Here’s an interesting tidbit you may not always stop to consider. According to Tails Pet Magazine, a dog’s sense of smell is roughly 100,000 times stronger than our own human sense of smell.
Author and psychological researcher Stanley Coren explains that those cold, wet canine noses can house as many as 300 million scent receptors. People, by comparison, have a measly five million.
This is one major reason why police K-9 units exist. Specially trained pooches are able to sniff out critical clues that can catch criminals, avoid calamities and even save lives.
Want some firsthand proof? Ask a hard-working bloodhound and K-9 unit contributor named Putnam.
Putnam can’t speak English, of course, but Inside Edition reports that he’s currently the talk of social media after finding 17-year-old Rickey Wheeler alive and safe.
That’s a deceptively simple statement, actually. Florida resident Wheeler recently vanished from the Madison Green apartments in Palm Coast.
Authorities still aren’t completely sure what may have prompted the teen’s departure. But it was especially alarming to his loved ones, given that Wheeler has muscular dystrophy.
At the time of his disappearance, the young man was also in need of his medication. This prompted a frantic four-day search that included almost 100 volunteers, in addition to law enforcement officials.
According to Orlando-based CBS affiliate WKMG-TV, Anthony and Dawn Butrym were among the first to sign up for the search party. After searching high and low, they eventually discovered Wheeler’s shoes and some of his clothing along a tree line near City Hall.
Wheeler, however, was still nowhere to be found. Anthony Butrym admitted to WKMG-TV that he was “elated and a little bit scared” because the items were found in what appeared to be a discarded state.
That’s when Putnam was called in. Accompanied by his handler, Emmett Merritt, the trained pup picked up the scent from the recovered apparel.
All other search efforts were halted at that point, so Putnam would have the best chance of homing in on Wheeler’s possible trail. The end result?
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Division Chief Paul Bovino noted that Putnam outperformed all modern search technology that had been brought to bear. The dedicated dog found Wheeler in an impressively time-efficient fashion.
The teen was ultimately discovered in a small depression out in the woods. He was riddled with bug bites and relatively dehydrated.
Wheeler was also conscious and fully coherent. He was able to chat with police officers at the scene and even greeted persistent hound Putnam in person.
“This is a story that could have had a very different ending,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a prepared statement. “There is no greater honor in our line of work than when you can reunite a missing child with their family, and tell the mother and father their child is coming home.”
Putnam, for his part, is being hailed as a true hero. The skillful canine was rewarded with a fancy steak dinner, and all the head rubs he could possibly handle.
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