(KRON) — A missing 6-year-old special needs child was safely reunited with his loved ones thanks to the efforts of a Hayward Police Department K9 officer. The incident in question concerned a 6-year-old boy with special needs who walked away from his babysitter near a local park in Hayward last month, according to Hayward PD.
Hayward PD officers responded and began a search of the surrounding area with assistance from HARD Rangers, East Bay Regional Parks, a Hayward PD drone, and a Hayward K9 officer named “Blaze.”
Blaze had just completed tracking school a few weeks earlier, according to police. Within minutes, K9 Blaze was able to locate the child and lead search teams right to him.
They boy was thankfully found uninjured in a heavily wooded area along the Hayward Plunge Trail, police said. He was safely reunited with his loved ones.
“Our Police Service Dogs are trained in many specialties, one of which is to help find missing people. By using a personal item that the person has touched or worn, the dog’s nose can focus on that specific person’s smell and follow the path where the person traveled,” Hayward PD said in a statement. “Thank you to all the agencies who assisted with this search. We are grateful for the positive ending to this scary situation, and for the keen nose on our K9 partner Blaze.”