Hundreds of hours searching and exhausting days spent in the woods of Hancock County has paid off for Hancock County Sheriff deputies,who recovered their lost K-9, Radar, who was lost for 17 days.
Commander Jeremy Skinner said the department has gone through every emotion during the search, but are just relieved to have Radar back and in good health.
"It was frustrating at times," he said. "Eating lunch and dinner out in the woods hoping to catch a glimpse of Radar and wondering if he was safe."
Skinner said deputies started using clothes and scents from Radar's handler to coax the nervous K-9 out of hiding.
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"If his handler would have been here, the search would have been much shorter," he said. "Radar was just searching for something familiar."
Radar's handler has undergone one surgery since the accident and is recovering in preparation for more operations.
Skinner said while Radar received treatment at a veterinarian's clinic, they were able to bring his handler in for a reunion.
"The handler needed it more than Radar," Skinner said. "Now he can focus on getting better instead of spending his days worrying himself sick."
Radar was found about 500 yards away from the initial wreck near Walkiah Bluff and Burnt Bridge Roads. Skinner said they had the 14-month-old bloodhound boxed in for about a week but he was too smart to catch.
"We had him on camera, knew exactly where he was, and tried every trick in the book," he said. "Even while dehydrated and confused, Radar outsmarted all of us."
Skinner said the search-team of more than 20 staked out Radar for the last few days in a local resident's backyard.
"He seemed to be really comfortable in that area, so we brought familiar things there until he eventually got close enough for us to rescue him."
Radar was immediately taken to a clinic, where he received necessary fluids and treatments, Skinner said. After a much needed rest, Radar was back to the playful bloodhound the department had fallen in love with.
"I'm sure he was thrilled to sleep inside and not be out in those woods anymore," Skinner said. "Radar returning healthy after 17 days is the greatest gift we could have asked for."
Over the next several weeks, Radar will continue his recovery and during that time we will determine if he will be able to return to his duty as a working dog.
Skinner said the rescue would not have been successful without other agencies such as the Pearl River Sheriff's Office and the Mississippi Blood Trailing Network.
"We can't thank everyone enough," Skinner said. "Especially the community who gathered around us with support and shared in our search for Radar."