Labrador rescues lost boy using only his scent

The black labrador was able to sniff out the boy even after emergency services failed to find him (Photo for illustration only)

A labrador has rescued a 10-year-old boy from freezing weather conditions in the Hautes-Pyrénées after sniffing out his scent in the dark.

The boy became lost on the night of February 27 to 28 as he was out walking with his father and sister along mountain trails on the 1,000-metre Mont de Gez (Vallée d'Argelès-Gazost, Hautes-Pyrénées).

Black labrador Hoock was able to track him after being given some of his clothes to sniff. Using the boy’s scent, the dog eventually discovered the child seven hours after he became lost, as temperatures plunged to -5°C.

The 10-year-old was found to be suffering from a “light hypothermia”, and was taken to the Tarbes hospital for observation overnight.

The boy originally became lost as the family descended from their mountain walk.

He challenged the group to a “first one back to the car wins” contest, and ran off, apparently towards the family's car at the bottom of the track.

But, upon returning to the car, the father and sister could not see the child. After searching by themselves for one hour, they called emergency services.

Hervé Sarthe, of the national police security group La CRS of Gavarnie, brought his labrador Hoock to the effort, which was also attended by 25 other rescuers and a helicopter.

“I asked the father to put some clothes belonging to his son in a bag, and allow the dog to smell them, so he could sniff and record his smell,” Mr Sarthe said, speaking to newspaper La Dépêche du Midi. “Then, the dog sniffed all around, and we started to climb in the exact location that the father had last seen his son. We were 300 metres from the summit.”

The dog followed the scent, and eventually found the boy lying on a tree trunk, exhausted, and suffering from the cold.

Rescuers had already searched near the exact spot before, but had not been successful before the dog became involved.

Conditions have been especially dangerous in recent days as the Moscou-Paris phenomenon sweeps the country, bringing continued sub zero temperatures, strong winds and snow.

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