RCMP dog lauded in harrowing snowbound rescue in Labrador

·2 min read
RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador
RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador

Hudson and Rex aren't the only heroic cop and canine duo in Newfoundland and Labrador.

After an individual suffering a mental health crisis became lost and stranded in the snow last week, Jerry — an RCMP dog stationed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay — came to the rescue.

Cpl. Jason Muzzerall, an RCMP dog handler, responded to the call for assistance with Jerry after the detachment notified him of a situation where an individual suffering from a mental health crisis had run into the woods.

The officers had lost track of the missing man, but Jerry found his trail.

"He locked onto the scent and the track, and we managed to track [the individual] down the Ski-Doo trail," Muzzerall said in an interview with CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

While it was easy for Jerry to follow the track, said Muzzerall, it was more difficult for him to follow Jerry.

"We're crawling basically on my elbows on my belly to try to keep myself moving forward, and keep Jerry moving forward until we ended up finding the individual."

RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador
RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador

The man had run off the trail and through a dense bramble of woods before falling into a deep pocket of snow. Jerry and Cpl. Muzzerall were able to locate him nearly 300 metres from the trail, buried in the snow and unresponsive.

"Given the amount of time that we estimated that they had been out there," said Muzzerall, "we were very concerned for this individual's health and wellbeing, as he was not responding to anything at the time."

Police dog able to track individual where officers couldn't

Muzzerall said it took about 25 minutes to find the man, but it took him and his team another 45 minutes to get the individual up out of the snow after falling into what appeared to be a hole.

"Other members came in and assisted and we managed to get the individual up onto a toboggan, and then we had to drag the toboggan out to a road to a waiting ambulance," said Muzzerall.

Had the individual been out there for much longer, Muzzerall said they would have been responding to a very different situation. But thanks to their canine team member, there was a good outcome.

"Fortunately, we have Jerry here, we have him at our disposal, and we were able to deploy him and find this individual before we were in that circumstance," said Muzzerall.

"And we got this person out of the situation that they're in, we managed to get them to hospital, and got them the help that they needed."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador