Last October, a German Shepherd K9 officer named Titan used his police training and nose work to find a suicidal woman in the woods. The woman was at serious risk of dying from a drug overdose, but was found by the 6-year-old dog just in time.
For his bravery and dedication above and beyond the call of duty, Titan was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame. The dog is stationed with Halton Regional Police in Oakville, Ontario and works with Constable Tara McLorn.
"I'm a little biased in my opinion but I think Titan is a fabulous dog. It's just so nice to see all of the hard work we've put into Titan has actually paid off with him saving a life. For him to be inducted into the Purina Hall of Fame is beyond words. I really can't even express how grateful I am and how emotional it has been for me to have him recognized in this way," said McLorn.
Titan's rescue on that fateful night was all the more remarkable because the odds were against Titan and McLorn finding the woman in time. For one thing, the victim had fled into Sherwood Forest Park and would be difficult to locate in the dark woods. For another, the woman had already overdosed on pills and was slowly losing consciousness. They knew this, because the woman was on her cell phone talking to crisis support. And finally, the weather that night was horrendous - cold raining with gusting winds.
The officers had been able to triangulate the victim's location through her cell phone, but it was up to Titan to find her exact location.
"That night in particular, the weather was extremely bad. I believe we had 70 mm of rain that night. The winds were gusting up to 90 km/h. It was an incredibly poor weather night, which makes it more difficult for us to track because when the human odor hits the ground, the rain washes it away and the wind blows it away," McLorn said. "Because the conditions were so poor that night, it was even more remarkable that Titan was actually able to track."
Titan found the woman deep in the woods, near a creek. When they found her, the distraught woman was so determined to die she jumped into the nearby water. Police officers managed to rescue her again and rushed her to hospital, where she was treated for hypothermia and the drug overdose.
That night, Titan saved a life. It is an outstanding achievement in a career defined by many duties, including sniffing out evidence at crime scenes, tracking missing persons, detecting drugs and helping to catch fleeing criminals.
Said McLorn: "He's like a Jack-of-all-trades. He’s a pretty amazing dog."
Titan will retire from service this summer and go to live with McLoren. He's retiring a bit earlier than usual, but it sometimes happens. "These dogs are almost like professional athletes. They train hard every day. They play hard. Sometimes they get injured or they develop issues. Titan has developed arthritis," McLorn said. So, being inducted into the Purina Hall of Fame comes at the perfect time. It's a fitting tribute for a dog dedicated to his work and helping others.
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