For this search and rescue K9 and her handler, an unimaginable nightmare ensued after she found a man who was lost in the forest and then became lost herself.
When experienced K9 Olive, a black and tan German shepherd, was called to the scene of a heavily forested area in the outskirts of Mahlubini, Sulenkama, South Africa to search for a lost man, the search began like most any other. She got right to work and began looking for a man who became lost while gathering firewood.
Olive found the man, who was dehydrated and having trouble walking, but he would be okay. Word quickly spread to members of the community who had also brought their dogs to join in the search. All of them began heading back to their vehicles and it was then that things started to go wrong for Olive.
Olive was afraid of dogs and for some reason despite her hander, Constable Songezile Katikati, trying to stop them and maintain order, some dogs that belonged to members of the community started to chase her. The fearful Olive bolted and in a blink was gone.
Katikati and Olive had been partners since 2012, and he was devastated. The two had worked hard over the years and became best friends. They had even been awarded “Best Rescue Dog” for the past three years.
As Katikati searched for Olive, the South African Police Department also tried to help. They posted a plea to their social media page asking for her safe return and explained that Constable Katikati was “perturbed and emotionally drained” over Olive being lost.
“Olive is my best friend and companion. She is humble and she cannot harm anyone as she is trained in rescuing drowned people, seeking missing people and seeking evidence on other crime scenes. I plead with anyone who sees her to not harm her but rather keep her and report to the police.”
The SAPS added, “Olive is our member that never disappointed us. When we send Constable Katikati and Olive to rescue someone we relax and stay assured that they’ll bring that missing person back to his/her family.”
For three long days they searched for Olive when miraculously she was discovered trapped under a low cliff surrounded by brush near where she had found the lost man. She could not escape and had to be cut out but she was unharmed and full of energy.
On hand for her rescue was Constable Katikati, who broke down in tears of joy when they found her:
Katikati says he broke down crying when he found her. He told News24 of the ordeal and reunion.
“I couldn’t sleep that night. Sho, sho, sho…The bond I have with that dog…Losing this one felt like losing a child to me.
“I couldn’t hold back the tears when we found her. All that kept me alive over the last few days was the support I’d received from my colleagues and the community.”
We are so happy that Olive was found safe and sound and that the officer got his partner back! Please share her story with your family and friends.