Dogs have an incredible sense of smell.
They’re able to sniff out things that are undetectable to human noses, which is why they often take on jobs like search and rescue. And sometimes, a dog’s sense of smell comes in handy in unpredictable ways.
When Banjo the 9-month-old German wirehaired pointer was out cross-country skiing with his owner near their home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, he used his amazing scent detectors to pick up on an interesting smell.
“Banjo has a distinct tail whip and body movement when he’s around fresh animal scent, so when I saw him run for the trees I knew something was there,” Kerry, who asked that his last name not be used, told The Dodo. “I assumed it was going to be a porcupine, bird, or rabbit.”
But Banjo had found something a little more unusual than a wild animal. As Kerry approached the trees, he saw something shifting under a bush.
The next second, a furry, golden head popped up from out of the snow. It was a Golden Retriever puppy!
The dog appeared to have dug a burrow in the snow, where he had been sleeping for the last few days, in an attempt to shelter himself from the snow.
The poor dog was clearly lost, and Banjo had found him at just the right time.
“He was terrified and chilly,” Kerry said. “He allowed Banjo near him, but I couldn’t get very close.”
The dog was so nervous that Kerry was unable to coax him out of his hiding place.
In the end, he called animal control, who managed to get in touch with the dog’s frantic owners.
“Only when I put his owner on speakerphone did he show signs of moving,” Kerry said. “I was able to coax him out of the bush with some treats, but he still wouldn’t let me get that close.”
It was revealed that the dog’s name was Louie, and he had vanished a few days earlier from a nearby dog park.
There had then been a snowstorm, which had blanketed the area with snow and made it even more difficult for Louie’s owners to find him.
At the time of the call, Louie’s mom was out with a search party looking for the lost pup. When she heard the news that he had been found safe, she ran the half-hour journey through the snow to get to him.
Kerry felt deeply touched by the situation, and even more so because a similar thing had happened to him.
“Banjo was stolen in August, so I held back some tears as I kinda know the feeling!” He said. “There were lots of friends of Louie and some laughs and happy tears from his owner Julia — a waggy butt and a very excited and hungry Louie! It was very sweet.”
As soon as Louie saw his loved ones again, all of his fears melted away. Thanks to Banjo’s incredible smelling skills, he was spared from what could have been a very different ending to the story.
The hungry dog was given some food, and Julia and Kerry had a beer together to celebrate Banjo the Very Good Boy.