King County Search Dog nominated for national 'Hero Dog of the Year' award

A member of the King County Search Dogs is nominated for the American Humane ‘Hero Dog of the Year Award’ after he helped find an elderly woman at risk last year in Bellevue.

Lincoln is a 5-year-old flat coat retriever and is one of 25 King County search dogs who helps search for people in distress wherever he's called.

He’s Jonathan Izant’s partner in crime, and together, they have a calling for volunteering and helping our community.

Izant has been doing search and rescue work since 1979.

"He's incredibly reliable, and yet, I find no way I can ever take that for granted," Izant said.  

Lincoln is known as what's called an "air scent dog," which means he can search for any person without using a physical piece of clothing or any other item with that person's scent. 

"Whether it's 100 yards, or whether it's five hours on a mountainside-- it's really all the same thing," Izant said.  

Lincoln's training certifies him to find people in 40 acres of wilderness in two hours or less.

He is also a certified human remains detection dog.

"He knows what's going on when he gets out and sees the sheriff's car. He sees his other search friends and he knows he has to get the work," Izant said. "It's quite impressive because he's a very social dog who loves to play with other dogs, but when he's working, he tends to ignore them and is laser-focused."

Lincoln is being recognized for his life-saving efforts when he helped find an elderly woman suffering from dementia return home after she went missing for six hours.  

Izant recalls the day like it was yesterday.

"Lo and behold at 2:30 in the morning, after 15 minutes of working, he darted down behind the neighbor's house came back up and indicated by grabbing on a little ball and told us she was there, we went down and we were able to reunite her with her family," Izant said.

However, Lincoln's story is truly that of survival and paying it forward.

When Lincoln was born, he wasn't breathing until his breeder gave him a little breath of life herself, according to the 68-year-old handler.  

"He's really paying back the fact he got help when he needed it," Izant said.  

Their latest mission was clocked on Thursday.

Altogether, he could be called to help an average of 50 times a year.

As a team, Izant says he's proud of Lincoln's efforts, but winning would be an honor.

"I think it'd be wonderful for Pacific Northwest search dogs in general, I would be proud beyond words, it would be a wonderful tribute," Izant said.  

Vote for Lincoln here. 

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