Top-ranked Paralympian Triathlete, Jessica Tuomela used a Scent Kit and her trained Golden Retriever, Lucy, to find a missing 89-year-old with dementia on Vancouver Island, May 17, 2023. Jessica (Jess) Tuomela and her scent discriminate Golden Retriever, K9 Lucy, were contacted by a family member in her neighborhood that their 89-year-old relative with dementia had wandered off from their home and had been missing for 2 hours. Tuomela, a four-time Paralympian, has been training for this day for months since getting Lucy and her scent discriminate training from Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley in July 2022. The family had previously obtained a Scent Kit from Jess and had it ready for the Canadian K9 Team when they arrived at the scene.
Tuomela presented the Scent Kit to K9 Lucy and they began trailing from the front door of the residence where the woman was last seen. K9 Lucy checked the front of the house and quickly turned up the road in the direction the woman had been seen walking. The pavement turned to gravel and Tuomela heard a flowing creek on the right side of the street as they continued the trail. K9 Lucy paused at the creek a few times, approached a crossroad, and continued trailing straight ahead. Jess felt a light breeze blowing from the right-hand side. Since Jess is blind, she uses her other senses to determine her surroundings and how the environment might be affecting the scent Lucy is trailing. Lucy trailed to a field and then turned around fast and headed back the way they had come. Lucy took a hard left, circled a gravel parking lot, and then another hard left. Lucy began running, took another hard left down a small hill, across some sand, and located the missing woman wading in knee-deep water.
The woman was happy to see Lucy and asked if she could pet her. The missing woman had wandered and didn’t know where she had been for the past 2.5 hours or how to get back home. Jess contacted the family who came to meet them. The trail was 3.2 kilometers long and took 42 minutes.
“I have won many medals in my athletic career but none of them compared to the feeling I had when we found the missing woman and reunited her with her family, “stated Jessica Tuomela.
In a Global News interview, Paul Coley, a former FBI agent and co-founder of Scent Evidence K9, talked about training Tuomela and Lucy on scent trailing and how to use the scent kits, which contain a tamper-proof jar and gauze pad. He said Tuomela called him before the rescue mission began and afterward, “elated” with the outcome.
Upon hearing the news, Coley and his wife celebrated.
“I get chills every time we think about it. We work with so many handlers across the world,” Coley told Global News. “Just a few weeks before that we found a missing four-year-old with autism in the swamps of Florida. Everything we put into this company is worth that.” Read Please Bring Him Home – Missing 4-Year-Old Found Safe HERE.
And if this story wasn’t amazing already, this is also the 450th find for our Bringing The Lost Home K9 partners!
The news of Jess and Lucy’s missing person find is getting a lot of news coverage in Canada so be sure to check out the links above to view the articles and broadcasts. There has also been a lot of interest in how people can get a Scent Kit to protect their family members before they go missing. Jessica Tuomela is distributing the Scent Kits in Canada through her True North Canine Scent Trailing Company. You can reach out to her at [email protected] to order Scent Kits. In the U.S. you can get Scednt Kits at our online store at GET SCENT KITS HERE or at AMAZON.
GREAT TRAIL Jess and K9 Lucy! We are proud of you! To learn more about Scent Kits and how they can help K9 Teams like Jess and Lucy bring the lost home, click HERE.
Learn More about Jess and Lucy’s scent discriminate training HERE.