Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue provided a couple of K9 teams for a successful search on the Saanich Peninsula this past weekend, as member Axl found a 75-year-old woman is his first search. Facebook photo, CVGSAR

Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue provided a couple of K9 teams for a successful search on the Saanich Peninsula this past weekend, as member Axl found a 75-year-old woman is his first search. Facebook photo, CVGSAR

Dog from Island team finds missing woman in his first SAR mission

Comox Valley sent K9 teams to help with weekend search on Saanich Peninsula

It was the first search for new search dog Axl on Saturday, and it turned out to be a success for the golden retriever.

Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR) K9 team sent a couple of its K9 units south to assist the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization (PEMO) with a search for a missing 75-year-old woman on the Saanich Peninsula on Saturday. Ruizhen Wu had been missing since last Thursday before she was tracked down with the help of K9 unit.

“That was Axl’s first search as a certified dog,” said Paul Berry, president of CVGSAR.

PEMO said on Twitter that the woman was seen about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, in the Cordova Bay area and confirmed a day later that she had been found. Berry estimates the K9 teams had been out searching for a couple of hours and said the planning team had done a good job of defining the search area in the previous days based on a statistical analysis of lost person behaviour.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue flies out injured hiker

Berry said this was a mutual aid situation where they were able to assist another search team by providing the K9 support.

“It was really just our dog resources. Two of our dog teams went down to assist in the search,” he said. “It’s certainly normal practice in the province when you have a large-scale search that you ask for mutual aid from neighbouring teams.”

K9 member Chris Smith brought along Axl and another golden retriever, Solo, while another member brought along her black lab.

Berry said the missing woman, who has Alzheimer’s, disappeared in a wooded area and probably travelled well over a kilometre into fairly heavy bush.

“Often, subjects with dementia wander until they get stuck,” he said.

CVGSAR has had multiple K9 teams for about six years, Berry said, with Smith having had three dogs take part over the years. On its website, the organization outlines the process dogs go through before they can become certified search dogs. This includes an assessment when they are between six months and two years old. Dogs and trainers are also validated annually.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Downed hydro line sparks brush fire in Yellow Point

North Oyster firefighters and B.C. Hydro on scene along Yellow Point Road

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Heavy flows of water pooled on Davis Road after a lead to a fire hydrant burst on Thursday Jan. 21. (Jim Tredwell photo)
Fire hydrant connection burst at Davis Road and Battie Drive

Crews worked well into the night on Thursday Jan. 21 to staunch the flow of water

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read