Washington County, AK. Sheriff’s Office K-9 Team finds and rescues lost hikers in record time

A Beautiful K-9 that has an amazing track record has just accomplished a wonderful track of lost hikers. Thanks to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for bringing the exploits of Ranger the 6-year-old Belgian Malinois and his handler Sergeant T.J. Rennie to our attention.

The Washington County, AK. Sheriff’s Office posted the following article on their Facebook page about the K-9 teams incredible history and recent quick save of lost hikers save along with amazing photos for your enjoyment: 

 Our handsome, intelligent K-9 “Ranger” did a great thing a few nights ago and we think he deserves a BIG ATTA-BOY and SHOUT OUT for a job well done!

….but first we want to tell you a little about him…….

Ranger is a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois and has served as a K-9 “deputy” with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office since 2011. During his time with the Sheriff’s Office, Ranger has done many important things….he’s visited with LOTS of kids and adults during numerous K-9 demos, he’s tracked persons who were evading officers, he’s won awards in national competitions, he’s located large amounts of illegal drugs….he even helped seize 150 lbs of marijuana from an airplane once……….but nothing has been more critically important than what he did a few nights ago.

The call came in from a brother and sister reporting they had gotten off the trail while hiking at Lake Wedington and now didn’t know where they were.

Ranger arrived with his partner/K-9 handler Sergeant T.J. Rennie, along with Corporal Taylor Reed, and they immediately began trying to locate the lost hikers. They turned on their lights and sirens to see if the hikers could come to them. Dispatch was on the phone with the hikers and relayed the strongest sound of the sirens, which helped Sergeant Rennie and Corporal Reed determine the closest they could get to the hikers was at the water treatment plant.

The critical and urgent nature of the search became apparent when one of the hikers started having seizures….and it was getting dark.

Sergeant Rennie and Corporal Reed had a general idea of the area where the two might be, so Sergeant Rennie got K-9 Ranger out….they went in by the treatment plant and started up the trail. Some first responders joined them and they ventured in to the woods. One of the hikers was still on the phone with dispatch trying to let them know when they could hear the responders.

When Sergeant Rennie, Ranger and the first responders got to the top of the hill, one of the first responders thought he could hear a female yell to the west. Everyone took off west, while Ranger went in a different direction….pulling Sergeant Rennie down a clearing to a creek bed. Ranger took him east in the creek bed for several hundred yards. Sergeant Rennie kept announcing himself to see if the hikers could hear him. Ranger put his nose to the ground and started pulling Sergeant Rennie down the creek bed. Sergeant Rennie relayed his location and direction of travel to Corporal Reed since he was so far away from the rest of the group. A short time later, dispatch advised Sergeant Rennie the hikers could see his flashlight. Sergeant Rennie yelled to them not to move. Ranger then took/pulled Sergeant Rennie up the side of a very steep hill….and he could see a phone light at the top.

When Ranger and Sergeant Rennie got to them, one of the hikers was in a fetal position having a seizure. Corporal Reed was able to see a glimpse of Sergeant Rennie’s flashlight and positioned his vehicle as a reference point. Approximately 20 minutes later, Search and Rescue arrived and assisted them to safety.

From the time Ranger began his track to the time he found the hikers…..19 minutes had passed. The time it took to locate them and get them the help they needed would have been much longer if not for Ranger’s keen nose and tracking abilities! GREAT JOB, RANGER…….and great job to all the humans who assisted him as well!


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