MASON CITY, Iowa - It's a heart-stopping moment for any parent, realizing your child has wandered off and you can't find them. That's what happened to a two-year-old boy near Mason City on Tuesday morning. Luckily he is home safe now, thanks to the efforts of a police K9 and his handler.
The two-year-old and his dog wandered away while his family was working outside. Officer Duane Kemna and his K9 Kilo were called in by the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff's Office to help in the search efforts.
"She's the smart end of the leash. I'm just the follower, I guess," said Officer Kemna, talking about his five-year-old black German Shepherd who is a jack of all trades.
"Most of it is drug detection that she does and then they're bite dogs too," he said.
Search and rescue is also a specialty of Kilo's. Her sensitive nose picking up the scent of the young boy and tracking the path for three-quarters of a mile.
"When I found him, he had fallen into the creek because his pants were wet. So, at two years old he knew enough to take his shoes and socks off because they were wet and he had taken his coat and his hat off too," said Kemna.
He also says Kilo raced quickly down the scent trail, so fast it was almost hard to keep up. He says the boy was shocked when they showed up.
"He was more scared of me when I walked up than anything. So, I talked to him for a little bit and got him dressed and I carried him out to where his dad met me on the four-wheeler."
For Officer Kemna, it was a special birthday. He says finding the boy was the best gift he could receive.
Kemna says he can relate to the pain the family was feeling during those anxious moments.
"It was hard, you know...It's just...with my grandson being about the same age and it was a good thing to find."
Kilo was trained for police work by Tree Town Kennels in Forest City.