Animal Anecdote No. 46
Breakfast was on the table when a knock was heard at the front door. There were two uniformed police officers. “There’s an old man lost in Bethany and we would like your father come with his bloodhounds.” My mother came to the door and explained that Dad was out of town. One of the officers asked if I might bring the dogs. Didn’t I know how to handle them? My mother looked at me and said, “Well, George?” I was about 14 years old and had experience but never even imagined handling them on an actual case but agreed somewhat reluctantly.
I put the harnesses on the two I liked best and into the back seat of the police car and with screaming siren we were off to an adventure. The police explained that the evening before the old man was wandering behind his house and was last seen heading toward a path leading to a wooded area where, no doubt the old man had wandered. He was listed as senile.
At the scene the situation was obvious to me. Just get the hound to start down the road and with such a relatively fresh track there would be a simple job of trailing. The police had the old man’s night gown in a paper bag and I started the first dog, Toughy where he was last seen. Toughy seemed to know what he was there for but back tracked to the house. Try as I did to get that hound to trail down the path where the trail should have led but the dog wasn’t interested. I put him back in the police car and tried Bess who trailed back to the house just as Toughy had. I tried and tried to get that hound to go in the right direction but she repeatedly wanted to return to the house. It was embarrassing not to get either hound to trail as each was capable of. There was a small crowd of onlookers who made my failed efforts even more embarrassing when a police officer called out from behind the house to bring the dogs back because, “We found him!”
Behind the house there had been on old dry well and a wooden cover had been placed over it that had a hinged door on the top . The old man had opened the door and had fallen into the well and was dead.
Later when telling my father about that situation Dad remarked that the best handler of a trailing Bloodhound would be a moron who would do what the dogs wanted to do.
Next time, how many masked bandits?