A POLICE dog who found a missing woman and her baby on his very first shift has been honoured with a national award for his success.
Dyfed-Powys Police dog Max won the Hero category at the Daily Mirror Animal Hero Awards 2020 for his tracking skills, which led officers to the missing pair.
Max and his handler PC Peter Lloyd were on their first operational shift together in August when they joined the search for the woman and her one-year-old.
They were called into duty at just before midday on Saturday, August 1, 2020, when the force received a call reporting the mum missing and immediately launched a search to find her and her child.
Joining response, NPT and specialist search officers, PC Lloyd and PD Max faced a huge task on their first shift together.
“They’d been missing for some time so there was big concern,” PC Lloyd said.
“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.”
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 added: “His training is to search for open areas. We searched all sorts of terrain, ravines, valleys, lakes.
“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.”
The incident unfolded just five months after PC Lloyd and Max first met. Their hard work and training paid off when Max picked up on a sound during the search.
"I met Max first when he was brought to us as a potential police dog,” PC Lloyd said. “He was untrained at that time and had very basic commands.
“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.
“He remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable.
“You’d never expect to have such a great result from him on his first deployment. It was a difficult search, a long search. We're all so proud.”
Receiving the award, PC Lloyd added: “I would like to thank everyone who voted for Max to be nominated for this award, and to the judges who decided he should be the recipient. He is very pleased – as am I.”