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Soot Saves The Day

Soot used his scent of smell to locate a lost hunter in the mountains of West Virginia.

A 78-year-old Charleston, West Virginia man and his son had gone hunting near a mountaintop in Logan County last December. The two separated and planned to meet later at their truck. When his dad failed to return, the son searched for hours for the lost man. Knowing that his father was diabetic and that it was nearing darkness, the son dialed 911 for help.

Soot was adopted by Lorraine Burdette. He was an owner surrender because of his high energy level and was deem unruly. Lorraine soon discovered that the very active black Lab needed a job to do so he was trained as a canine search and rescue dog. The lab's specialty is air scenting, scent discriminating and finding lost subjects in the wilderness.

Lorraine and Soot were called to the Logan County area to help many local teams search for the missing man. When they began their search, the temperature in the mountains had reached a chilly 24 degrees. Soot was given the hunter's coat to scent. He then scented around the hunter's truck as well as a second location and was hot on the trail of the lost man. Through the use of air scenting, Soot lead the searchers several miles, straight to the lost man who was found cold and dehydrated, but otherwise in good health. Once Lorraine made sure that the lost hunter was okay, Soot was rewarded with his tennis ball for a job well done.

Soot has been nominated in the Search and Rescue Dog category for the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. If he wins, $10,000 will go towards his charity, The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve. This charity's mission is to "promote the welfare of dogs who have faithfully served (often in harm's way) in wars, police work, crime prevention, and rescue efforts through education and increased public awareness." The Hero Dog Awards will be presented on October 6, 2012.