K-9 Tigo

K-9 Tigo, shown during an Easter visit.

Tigo is a very good boy.

Just one week into the official start of his job, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office K-9 helped track a medically endangered, reportedly suicidal, woman and save her life.

Undersheriff George Jackson said the woman was suffering from a mental health episode on May 26 and, according to family members, she had possibly overdosed on pills before leaving her home in the county.

Deputies responded to the area, but could not locate her and so, Sgt. Chuck Searcy and K-9 Tigo deployed.

At first, the dog was unable to pick up her trail, except for possibly near a fence, Searcy said. After speaking to others on scene, Searcy and others isolated the search pattern and soon, Tigo picked up on her trail.

The dog successfully located the woman about a quarter-mile from her residence, the location of which was not disclosed. Searcy said she was conscious and talking, but required ambulance transport to the hospital.

Jackson said the woman might have died, were it not for Tigo’s nose and training.

“Tigo got his very first scene now. It’s paying dividends already. … He’s a very hardworking dog,” Jackson said.

The MCSO purchased Tigo earlier this year and the dog recently came to Montrose full-time, after completing his training and certification process with Searcy. The Belgian shepherd is trained in narcotics detection and tracking.

“It’s situations exactly like this that pay for Tigo. Whether it saved her life, or just got her the help she needed, we were able to find her because of the dog,” Searcy said Tuesday.

“Just having that resource in the community is so valuable. On his first, actual, true deployment, he did what he was supposed to do. We’re just so happy.”

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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