Family pet helps find missing woman

Family pet helps find missing woman

A rescue out of Region 8 conjures up images of old TV shows and movies like "Lassie" and "Benji," stories of faithful companions who saved the day.

"You hear about stories like that but they usually don't happen very often," Greene County Sheriff David Carter said.

Around 9:30 Thursday morning, Sheriff Carter was called out to rural Greene County to help search for a missing woman.

Deputies with his department, along with the Greene County Rescue Squad and family and friends of missing woman, Debra "Debbie" Martinez searched near her home for hours Thursday morning and afternoon.

Despite everyone out there, it was man's best friend, a mutt named Dolly, who became the hero in this story.

Family pets always seem to be held in high regard. In fact, they're often thought of more as family than pet.

If there were ever any questions about Dolly's worth though, they've gone out the window now.

Even though Dolly has been around for awhile, her actions Thursday earned her keep.

"Dolly's probably about 6 or 7 years old... they've had her since she was a puppy," Doug Oakes, Debbie Martinez' brother said.

Instead of Debbie taking care of Dolly though, this time, Dolly took care of her owner.

Wednesday night, Debbie went missing.

Her family said a medical procedure earlier in the day left Debbie, who already has some short term memory loss, a little disoriented. When she went to take out the trash, she never came back inside.

At that point, her father had fallen asleep and no one knew that Debbie was missing until the next morning.

Oakes said that's when search efforts began.

"I didn't do any work so I had to have got out here about 8 o'clock," Oakes said.

Oakes and multiple other family members spent Thursday morning searching for Debbie. During the search, they realized it wasn't just Debbie missing though. Dolly was nowhere to be found either.

"We knew the dog probably had to be with her," Oakes said.

Around 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon, after law enforcement and rescue crews in Greene County were called in, their hunch was confirmed.

"Right to the side of the fence, there's a little gate right there," Oakes said, pointing to a spot in the woods near Debbie's home.

Hours worth of searching were about to come to an end.

"That's when we first seen her," Oakes said.

Dolly, who doesn't get around as good as she used to, met up with search crews and led them straight back to Debbie.

"Followed her over there and there she was," Oakes said. "She had fell and she had one of her legs twisted up underneath her but we were able to go over there and get her up and she was fine."

Greene County Sheriff David Carter said even though Dolly was the hero for the day, he was grateful his crews were able to help in the search for Debbie.

"It was hot, we had people bringing water and we had people on horseback come up, we were fixing to get the fire departments because we thought the lady was in trouble," Sheriff Carter said. "Probably without the dog, I don't know what would have happened."

Because she was still a little disoriented from being outside Wednesday night into Thursday, Debbie was taken to a local hospital to get checked out.

GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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