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Dog played big role in search for missing camper

An unlikely hero emerged in the successful search and rescue mission for a missing camper in Laurel County.

Authorities say a German Shepherd, named Leyza, led them to 25-year-old Ryan Larke, who had been missing for 4 days.

Her ability to pick up a scent led canine handler Andrew Tackett and another rescuer to the missing camper.

The rescuers, searching the woods of the Daniel Boone National Forest, say they were amazed when they heard a voice in the distance.

That voice was Larke, crying out when he heard the bell attached to Leyza's collar.

"As we got closer, he was actually saying, 'Help," so we just took off," Andrew Tackett of Bluegrass Search & Rescue said.

An injured, but alive Larke lay on the ground near a stream. He was relieved to see that help had arrived.

Larke took comfort in the canine who had found him.

"He let me know he had a dog he'd just put down that was a Shepherd, so I said, 'Would you like me to bring mine over?' She went over and sat next to him and started licking him in the face," Tackett said.

Leyza is a rescue dog from Michigan, with just six months of training with Bluegrass Search and Rescue.

Tackett says he couldn't have picked a better dog for the job.

Leyza's trainer says they spend 10 to 20 hours a week practicing for rescues like the one Wednesday.


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