A search dog in England is enjoying her tennis ball reward after rescuing a man from an unusual predicament. Four-year-old Belle helped find a warehouse worker who was buried under thousands of pounds of boxed cheese after racks of shelving collapsed on him.
The black Labrador retriever was sent from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service when worker Tomasz Wiszniewski became trapped under the cheese and the 30-foot-high metal shelving that was holding it.
Working alongside rescue dog Maya from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Belle showed a strong interest in the part of the warehouse where Wiszniewski was buried. She alerted her handler, Jo Stephens, and then search teams and firefighters were able to find Wisniewski and free him from the weighty cheese wreckage. He emerged unhurt after being trapped for eight hours.
Stephens, who heads the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Working Dogs Team, said on Facebook, “Belle did a fantastic job and performed exactly as she has been trained to."
Belle has been with the Merseyside service since she was 18 months old and is also part of an international search and rescue team that has worked all over the world. As a rescue dog, she's trained to sniff out a scent and bark to signal the spot so rescue crews can find survivors or, in many cases, to alert her handlers to the location of casualties.
“This was an extraordinary outcome because the man involved emerged alive and unscathed," said Stephens. “The whole atmosphere in the warehouse was so buoyant when they brought the worker to safety. Belle did a fantastic job and we are very proud of her contribution to the rescue effort."
Belle was rewarded with her tennis ball which, Stephens said, is the motivation for all her search and rescue work.
Belle is part of a four-dog search and rescue team that includes Teal, Zak and Jip.