A laid-off bloodhound who found a new gig in Bend had a successful first day on the job Wednesday, tracking down a missing Alzheimer’s patient who wandered away from an assisted living center.
Bend police responded around 12:40 p.m. to the report of a missing Alzheimer’s patient near Northeast 27th Street, said Lt. Chris Carney.
The 66-year-old man last was seen over two hours prior to when the report was made, presenting police with quite a challenge in the busy area of stores and offices, as they went door to door with a description of the man, said to be wearing a leather jacket on a day in the low 70s.
As several officers searched the area, the newest member of the Bend police K-9 program, bloodhound tracking dog Ranger, and his handler, Officer Kyle Voll, arrived on the scene.
Ranger, obtained earlier this year from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, had been laid off due to budget cuts, and the agency offered the dog to Bend at no cost.
Ranger and Voll just returned from training, and Wednesday was his first official day on the job, Carney said.
The bloodhound tracked and found the missing man beside Rose Pharmacy, huddled under a tree for shade, Carney said. The man was checked by Bend fire medics for possible dehydration, he added.
Carney said Bend police want to thank those who have donated to the Friends of K-9 program, which has helped with the training and other needs of Ranger.
Bend police are still pursuing the addition of two drug-detection dogs to help target the drug problem more effectively, Carney said.
“It is costly to purchase and deploy these dogs,” the lieutenant said, and the agency is seeking ways to fund the program internally while also accepting donations from the community.
Anyone interested in helping the K-9 program can do so by contacting Bend police or visiting the department’s Website at http://www.bendoregon.gov/K9.