Police dog’s superb tracking skills found a missing mother and baby on the edge of a ravine on his very first shift.
Max and his partner PC Peter Lloyd were on their first assignment together in August when they joined the search for the woman and her one-year-old child.
The pair had been missing for two days, and officers from Dyfed Powys Police were scouring the area where she was last seen, supported by Brecon Mountain Rescue and a National Police Air Support helicopter.
PC Lloyd says: "I met Max first in February this year, he was brought to us as a potential police dog and he was untrained at that time and had very basic commands.
"By our very first shift together a report came in of a vulnerable female and young baby who had gone missing the previous day. They’d been missing for some time so there was big concern.
"There was a one year old baby, it wasn’t a warm day and at night the temperature had dropped considerably, she’d been out all night with the child. You do ramp up your search and give it that extra bit.
"His training is to search for open areas. We searched all sorts of terrain, ravines, valleys, lakes."
Inspector Jonathan Rees-Jones said: “The woman had not been seen or spoken to for two days, which was out of character, and her phone wasn’t working.
"Thanks to excellent work between teams, her car was quickly found on a mountain road. Although this gave officers a location to search from, there was still a vast area to cover given the amount of time she had been missing. This is where PD Max’s tracking skills really came into play.”
After 90 minutes of searching, Max, a two-year-old German Shepherd cross, led PC Lloyd to the edge of a steep ravine, where the woman was waving and calling for help. Mother and baby were cold and tired, but otherwise unharmed.
PC Lloyd adds: "Max remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable when he reacted to the call for help which resulted in us locating them.
"What Max reacts to is listening to noises and voices. We were searching quite hard in a deep fern area and I thought I heard a little shout. He spun his head, he looked up the bank and was very focused on where the shout came from. I reacted to that and then he guided me to where he thought it was and together we were able to locate them."
When Max found the mother and child, PC Lloyd says she was relieved but also in distress.
PC Lloyd adds: "She was cold, clearly upset and it was really pleasing for me they were in a position where they could speak to me, the baby was ok.
"Max remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable.
"Max had such a successful job on his first deployment, you’d never expect to have such a great result from him. It was a difficult search, a long search. We're all so proud."