Police Dog Notices One Concerning Detail On A Hiking Trail And Jumps Into Action

Life as a pet dog must be a pretty sweet gig. In addition to kibble, walks, and the occasional table scraps, pampered household pups get almost everything their hearts desire. Some canines, however, aren’t content sitting on the couch and living a life of luxury. They want to head out into the world and get to work.

And one man in Michigan is especially thankful for working dogs. He could have faced a terrible fate if one loyal police dog didn’t spring into action on a fateful, December night.

Sitting on the shores of the St. Clair River, Marysville, Michigan, lives up to its nickname of “Dream City.” But even the most perfect dream can turn into a nightmare if you’re not careful.

Mac1island/ Wikimedia Commons

Thankfully, Marysville residents have a loyal police department on hand ready to keep everyone safe. There’s one special member of the force, however, who does his part to take a bite out of crime.

Jeffery M. Smith/ The Times Herald

Beyond its human officers, the Marysville Police Department also employs Heiko. While the dog might look cute and cuddly, he plays an important part in local law enforcement efforts.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

As a specially trained police canine, Heiko would take part in standard patrols in and around Marysville. But no two days were the same; he and his human partners never knew what would happen next.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

Sometimes, Heiko needed to track down a suspect and help make an arrest. Other days, he would be assigned to narcotics detection duty or asked to search an area for one specific scent.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

Heiko’s skill set wasn’t specifically limited to crime fighting. While he was a police dog by training, this pup had another special gift. That gift would prove to make all the difference to his department…

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

Despite his tough demeanor on the job, Heiko could still be a bit of a softy. His overall cuteness was able to help the Marysville Police Department in one unusual way.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

Heiko and his handler, Officer Justin Reeves, took part in a nationwide contest put on by Vested Interest K9s, Inc. After a concerted social media campaign, the pair came in second place.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

Thanks to over 26,000 votes, Heiko and Reeves won a new patrol vehicle valued at $50,000. Since the department’s previous cruiser was more than a decade old, everyone in Marysville appreciated the canine’s contribution.


In between his day-to-day duties and contest-winning efforts, though, Heiko still loved to put his paws up and chill out. But one evening, a sudden call put an end to those plans.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

It was December, and Heiko’s stocking was hung by the chimney with care. The pup, however, wouldn’t be able to sit at home and wait for Santa. Duty suddenly came calling.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

The Port Huron State Game Area sits about 15 miles away from Marysville. While the preserve is a perfect place for hiking, fishing, or simply enjoying nature, something had gone wrong…

Trunk Line Photography

A local hunter had gotten lost inside the game area! While he was able to contact a friend and call for help, he didn’t know how to find his way out of the forest.

County 17

Thankfully, Heiko and Officer Reeves were on the case! The pair headed to the preserve and set out down the path that the hunter took into the forest. Slowly, they walked into the darkness.


The woods seemed endless, but the pair had been in similar situations before. Eventually, Heiko managed to pick up the missing man’s scent. “I just kind of let the dog lead the way,” Reeves explained. 

NBC News

After what seemed like an eternity walking through the darkness, the pair heard something. It was a voice; they had found the lost hunter! There was still a problem, though…


While Heiko would ordinarily rush to his target, the dog couldn’t make it through the game area’s thick underbrush. Someone else would have to physically reach the formerly missing man.

Walking Man 247

Thankfully, Reeves and Heiko weren’t working alone. They were supported by the Clyde Township Fire Department, St. Clair County Sheriff Department and St. Clair County Central Dispatch. In a rescue effort, collaboration is key.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko / Facebook

While Heiko couldn’t reach the hunter, Clyde Township firefighters were able to make their way to the man. After a harrowing night in the woodlands, he slowly started making his way to safety.

Port Huron Times Herald

While Heiko isn’t in it for the glory, the rescue effort couldn’t have worked without the loyal canine. He might look an ordinary dog but, to the people of Marysville, he’s a super hero.

Marysville Police Department K9 Heiko/ Facebook

Heiko has found his calling as a police dog, but not every canine has what it takes to work in law enforcement. In fact, one Australian pup learned that the hard way…


Meet the adorable German Shepherd puppy and Australian resident, Gavel. At just six weeks old, he caught the eyes of the Queensland Police, as they saw great potential in the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed pup. They had big plans for him.

Mother Nature Network

Little Gavel was determined to be granted acceptance into the Queensland Dog Squad, as he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his family members. He had a 16-month training program ahead of him, and he was ready to track down some bad guys.


Not only was Gavel hoping to make the force proud, but he wanted to make his foster handlers proud, too. There were more than just a few pounds on this pup’s shoulders, as Gavel had people counting on him. The officers were confident he had the right stuff for the lawful job.

ABC13 Houston

“He is confident, with no nervous tendencies and shows willingness to retrieve, a prey drive, ball drive and can be motivated by food for a reward,” the impressed Queensland Sergeant Hansen gushed in a press release. By this point, it seemed that Gavel was going to be a star student.

Give It Love

Before he started his training, though, he made a highly anticipated debut to the public in 2016. He accompanied Governor Paul de Jersey and his wife at a function dedicated to honoring the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Give It Love

It was a big day for little Gavel, as he met an aggregation of important human officials, such as politicians, judges, business and community leaders, as well as former governors. One of these big-wigs in particular took a liking to Gavel.

The Patrol Dog Network

Former Governor Mary Marguerite “Leneen” Forde couldn’t keep her hands off of the warm Gavel, which is no surprise considering she owned many German Shepherds as a Fernberg resident. However, Gavel’s engagement with prestigious government officials was just getting started.

Government House Queensland

Usually, puppers-in-training are fostered by a fellow Queensland Police officer, but Gavel was a bit different. In an unusual turn of events, it was decided he would reside with Governor de Jersey and his wife at the Government House.

Give It Love

Governor de Jersey made sure to give Gavel a proper tour of his new illustrious home, as well as assist in familiarizing the Shepherd with new people, considering his boot camp training was to start soon. This is when a different side of Gavel emerged.

Wife Wine

Gavel proved to be a big ol’ softy. He’d take resting breaks, play with toys, and stride through the flowers. Gavel got lost in his own downtime, which caused people to raise an eyebrow and wonder how he’d perform on the squad.

Natural Healthy Living

The official training began with month’s worth of socialization and obedience practice. As expected, this was not an easy task for the playful Shepherd. At 10 weeks old, Gavel still had heaps of uncontrollable puppy energy, which was slightly concerning for a police recruit.

Governor de Jersey disclosed to 7NEWS Brisbane that, at this point, Gavel was still not sleeping through the entirety of the night. Still, no one was ready to give up on Gavel, as they figured his maturity milestone was waiting just around the corner.

New York Daily News

As the months went by, that maturity milestone seemed further and further away. Gavel never rounded that monumental bend. It was a tough decision, but the Queensland Police reluctantly decided to cut innocent Gavel from the program.


In a statement released by the Queensland Police, they declared that Gavel “did not display the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line.” It was a shock to everyone who fell in love with the pooch, but fighting crime just wasn’t in the cards for him.


In February of 2017, the Queensland Police officially discharged Gavel from his training, with graduation just six months away. Subsequently, the question that haunted nearly everyone down under was: what was to come of Gavel?

95.1 WAYV

All things considered, he was still staying with the Governor of Queensland, which allowed Gavel to live regally. Could it be that he was paired with Governor Paul de Jersey for a reason? Apparently, Gavel’s true calling was closer than he thought.


On February 21, 2017, Gavel bestowed a new title: Australia’s first-ever Vice-Regal Dog. The regal family knew he was destined for a more sociable and compassionate position, one that didn’t involve sniffing out the bad guys.

Give It Love

“He has outgrown four ceremonial coats, undergone a career change… and brought untold joy to the lives of the governor, Mrs. de Jersey, Government House staff, and the thousands of Queenslanders who have since visited the estate,” the Governor’s office raved.

Give It Love

To be clear, as a VRD, Gavel still had some important daily duties to conquer; like being a gracious host to guests and entertaining (playing with) tour groups that attended the Government House.


“He wears a specially-made Government House coat, emblazoned with the Governor’s Personal Standard, the St. Edward’s Crown and the brolga, the official bird emblem of Queensland,” the Government House disclosed.

National Post

In case you’re doubting the legitimacy of Gavel’s role in Australia’s Government House, he even had to, um, “sign,” a contract. It is still a legal process after all.

Give It Love

The regal mongrel adores the outdoors, and sometimes he’ll even help the Government House’s horticulture team with their grueling yard work. Though his version of help generally consists of emotional support, the horticultural team deeply appreciates his assistance.

Gavel took a shot in the dark at one career, and wound up excelling in an entirely different one. After unexpected failure, Gavel embarked on a new path, which is more common than you might think among working-class dogs.

CTV News

All over the world, dogs and their keen senses of smell have become major tools in the field of law enforcement. These detection dogs are trained to recognize and seek out all manner of potentially dangerous contraband — illegal drugs, weapons, and even people.

People’s Daily Online

But even with all the necessary skills, not every dog is cut out for a job like this. Being a detection dog takes patience and self-control. In a way, these pooches have to behave more like humans than animals.


For Train, a Chesapeake Bay retriever rescue, trading in a life of abuse for one as a drug detection dog seemed like a perfect fit. But Train struggled to find his place at the training academy: he was far more interested in being a dog than a police canine.

Q13 Fox

“He failed out of narcotics school because he was too energetic,” said Train’s owner, Karen DeMatteo. “He was like a bull in a china closet.” But Train still had one heck of a nose on him, one that DeMatteo wasn’t ready to see go to waste.


At the time, DeMatteo, a conservation biologist, was looking to gather a team of dogs for a research project in the Argentine province of Misiones. With a sniffer like Train’s on her side, she’d surely find what she was looking for…


Scat! Also known as poop, it actually plays a major role in the work of conservation biologists. Using droppings, researchers can gather valuable information about an animal, including their species, sex, and living environment.


“Everybody leaves poop behind in the forest,” said DeMatteo. “You can figure out which habitats they like and which habitats they avoid.”

National Geographic

More specifically, DeMatteo and her team were looking to pinpoint the habitats of endangered animals such as jaguars and oncillas. However, this task is not an easy one if you can’t track down these creatures in the first place.

That’s where Train came in. DeMatteo hoped that the former drug-dog-in-training could use his highly sensitive nose to pick up scat scents and lead them to the elusive animals. And as soon as the team released Train onto the trail, they got their answer.


Though the dog’s excitability had hampered him at the academy, Train proved that he was more than capable of excelling at his new job. Not only was he quick to pick up the scents of the animals, but his high energy helped them collect results at breakneck speed.

Omaha World-Herald

The group spent the next year tracking animals through the Argentine wilderness, Train always happily bounding along at the head of the pack. By the time this first collection effort had wrapped, Train and his incredible nose had covered over 600 miles of forest.


“Train was just a machine,” DeMatteo recalled of the dog’s first year of sniffing scat. “We just switched him to use all that energy and search really big areas and find this poop for us.”

Omaha World-Herald

Using the data collected from the scat, DeMatteo and her team can pinpoint which forest areas should be prioritized in their conservation efforts. They can also determine if any of the animals are being affected by humans encroaching upon their land.

National Geographic

“Everywhere, people are expanding,” said DeMatteo. “We can try to figure out areas of potential overlap between humans and wildlife. We can identify areas that need more work, areas that are great corridors, or areas that are kind of lost to the cause.”


In the past, conservationists like DeMatteo would employ cameras and sensors to photograph and track animals. However, this method proved inefficient, as the creatures needed to actually pass in front of the cameras for researchers to document them.

High Country News

These cameras also proved to be a huge deterrent for the Argentine farmers on whose land some of the animals lived. Many of these landowners were hesitant to allow camera traps on their property, fearing that their privacy and livelihood were at risk.

Small Farmers Journal

But with Train and a border collie named April, the farmers were much more receptive to allowing DeMatteo and her team onto their land. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch two adorable pups frolic and play?

Omaha World-Herald

“They’re afraid you’re going to take their land or do something funny,” said DeMatteo, “and we explain that we just want to look for poop and find out where animals are moving. And they’re like, ‘Oh, cool, can I come?'”

Omaha World-Herald

Even though Train just celebrated his twelfth birthday, he and his one-of-a-kind nose show no signs of slowing down. Next, it’s off to Nebraska for DeMatteo and her dog, where their team will be tracking mountain lions.

Omaha World-Herald

Pups like Train are changing the world with their 9-5 careers. Piper, for instance, a Border Collie from Michigan, chases thousands of birds, foxes, and groundhogs off the runway at Cherry Capital Airport. Clad in noise-canceling headphones and protective goggles, he keeps planes and animals safe — a dream job for any dog.

2. You may not have considered it, but dogs can work in tech now, too. This dog helps develop video games, providing designers with realistic movements for digital puppers. We hope they copy his look too because we’d play anything to see this cutie.

3. Gigantic Saint Bernards were once bred in the Alps by monks to rescue people in the snowy mountains. They carried a barrel around their necks filled with brandy to keep people warm. These days, they prowl the mountains as more of a tradition, but you might still be able to enjoy a cocktail or two if you find one!

4. In today’s fight to protect bees, Bazz the Australian Labrador was a legend. While protected from head to toe to avoid any stings, Bazz smelled the bees and detected which ones were sick and thus a threat to the hive. He sniffed those hives like nobody’s beeswax.

5. Airport security pups have to smell all kinds of people and their belongings. Your unwashed clothes, your sweaty butt, and that Swiss cheese sandwich in your bag will all be checked by hard-working security snouts. Not to mention the drugs in your luggage…

6. Does this little guy look familiar? Uggie the Jack Russel was rejected by his first two owners but was rescued and became a star. He was famous for woofing and waggling in Water For Elephants, The Artist, and an episode of Key & Peele.

7. While Uggie was of course not ugly, neither was Handsome Dan! He was the mascot of none other than Yale University, attending sports games and other school events to raise the spirit. The original Dan appeared in 1889, and the gig has since been transferred from one bulldog to the next. What an honor!

8. It’s not just humans who need to protect their heads when they get down to work! This pooch who inspected holes on construction sites made sure he donned his hard hat every time he ventured forth. They don’t call him a very good boy for nothing!

9. Perhaps one of the oldest dog jobs is being a sled dog —they’ve been around since the 10th century! Getting through deep snow by car, train, or even horse is rough, so these fit pups help people get from A to B in places like Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. Mush, mush!

10. Just when you think you’ve seen it all at Walmart, an overweight corgi rings you up while you’re buying your weekly groceries. Better keep an eye on Courtney while she’s bagging you up — especially if you’re buying any puppy snacks!

11. Of course, there is also the most famous dog job: the K-9 position. Many tough canine officers help the police by searching for people, dogs, weapons, and bodies, by bringing down runners, and by keeping their human partners safe.

12. Dogs may not have any fins, but they usually love being in the water and are pretty good swimmers. For those who aren’t as skilled in the water, these pooches can come to your rescue and bring you back to shore. Being on the beach is not the worst way to spend the day for a dog!

13. A less physically exhausting gig for dogs is being a therapy animal. Playing with these pooches can help relieve stress and even treat anxiety or depression. As colleges become more focused on their students’ mental health, they bring these pets to the school during exam week. Now everybody can rest easy and ace those tests.

14. While these two might look like an odd duo, they actually get along like a house on fire! Why? Because this dog spends his days protecting this chicken and several others from any potential threats, like mean ol’ coyotes!

15. This tiny pup does a really big service for humanity. When humans or pets go missing, especially during a disaster, search and rescue pooches like this one make it their mission to find and save them. This cutie is definitely up for the job.

16. Similar to the K-9 police squad, there are also plenty of dogs in the military. They can smell bombs and landmines, track enemies, and protect wounded soldiers — or even drag them to safety.

17. The Durian isn’t a simple fruit to nosh on, and it isn’t easy on the nose either. Famous for its strong, stinky odor, it should probably not be sold by someone with a great sense of smell. Then again, dogs sniff butts too, so maybe they’re not so picky.

18. Some people get an electronic alarm system, and others get a guard dog. Most home-protecting dogs are big and strong, but these little guys might be just as intimidating. Have you ever had a Pomeranian snarl at you? Better stay out!

19. Some dogs only serve their owner, but it’s still a lot of work. They can guide the blind, warn the deaf, aid the disabled, avoid injury during seizures, or even calm down people with psychological disorders like PTSD or OCD. These pooches really are a human’s best friend.

20. Lil’ Grandpa was one of many, many office dogs residing in New York City. When he wasn’t accidentally peeing in the corner, he gave cuddles and morale boosts to everyone at the swanky media office he worked at.

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