A dog who was rescued from death row has now been nominated for an award after helping reunite a distraught family with their beloved pet.
Six-year-old Rico was attending development training with his owner Rachel Rodgers when he put his newfound skills into action.
Originally from Portugal, where they were due to be put down, the Kokoni cross was being taught how to scents and in this case he was sniffing for truffle oil.
However, during the session, his owner along with the other attendees could hear panicked cries outside of people shouting “Henry.”
Rachel, a clinical Animal Behaviourist from Cheshire, says everyone rushed out into the car park to find a family searching for their Tibetan Terrier called Henry who had gone missing in the local area of Wrexham.
Despite more family members turning up to join the search, poor Henry was nowhere to be found.
His owners had already been in contact with Missing Dogs Team and his photo and information was shared on social media.
Unfortunately, with Henry being rehomed during lockdown the family hadn’t managed to get his microchip details updated, which was adding to their distress.
Rachel, who also works as a dog trainer herself, had been teaching Rico pet trailing, although they had not been able to take part in any classes for months due to ongoing restrictions and they had certainly never helped in the case of a genuinely missing dog before.
However, watching the situation unfold, the 31-year-old couldn’t stay quiet and not help.
Knowing her dog would need a scent article belonging to Henry, Rachel popped Rico into the boot of the family’s car but considering it smelt of the whole family and their other Golden Retriever, it wasn’t just straight forward from there.
To help eliminate any other possibilities, Rico sniffed around each of the three family members at the scene where Henry was last sighted.
Rachel told TeamDogs more about the search for Henry: “Pretty early on Rico indicated across a river twice but I couldn’t get across. It was too deep and the other side of the riverbank was rocks enclosed in metal mesh which I could never scale.
“So we had to go the long way round, we went back over a bridge and then Rico re-joined the trail at the point he had indicated to. He walked straight past a food bank where Rico literally ignored all the food, as he was focused on the task in hand.
“He kept telling me to go through a broken down, discarded lorry with the back down, but I couldn’t get down there.
“Instead, I placed him up onto a 5ft wall. He walked along the top to the end. Indicating again under a tunnel but there was no path, no safe way for us to go.”
Rachel had to come up with another solution, so she walked round to the original search point letting Rico re-join the trail once again but despite trying every route the group could find the evening started to draw in and Henry still wasn’t found.
Rachel said: “I was disappointed, but I also trust Rico implicitly and knew he was on to something. We just couldn’t find a point to re-join the trail.”
As there was nothing more the duo could do, they headed home to the outskirts of Nantwich to see her other dog Maisy.
Hours later, the Jones family decided to go and have one more look for Henry in the exact same spot where Rico had taken them and thankfully the family found their dog.
The owners contacted Rachel on her Facebook to thank her and said that that night she was a “proud dog mum.”
Since word of Rico’s amazing work finding Henry has spread he has been nominated for a Naturo Superdog Award – an award that highlights the incredible work done by dogs across the UK.
Last week, Rachel and Rico were on stage at DogFest being interviewed by Michaela Strachan about the experience.
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