Offbeat: Bloodhounds

Michael Bristo loves to talk about his hounds, his bloodhounds, as in tracking dogs.  Anytime there's someone lost, they call Bristow and his team out of Lynn, AR.

"We do it the old way, we just spread out and go," said Bristow.  "If you got a dog that eliminates a lot of man power and a lot of hours, because you give them the scent and off they go."

Bristow's hounds are part of the fire and rescue team in Lynn and one of the only tracking teams in this part of the state.  In reality, they're just Bristow's dogs, there are no city or county funds for his team, it's a completely privately funded operation. It all comes out of his pocket and his heart.  Bristow got the pups back in 1995 and now he and Tim Mansfield usually handle and run the dogs, or maybe that's actually the other way around.   "They pull like a horse," said Mansfield.  "If we put a plow behind them then we could plow a field."

The dogs are hot track hounds, sniffing out criminals, lost chidren, and the elderly that may have wandered off.  "In order to do this, you have to have 100% trust in your dogs," said Bristow.  "You're just out there trusting your dogs and if your dog's not right, you're off on a wild goose chase. You've got to have faith in your dogs."

Bristow self trained his hounds with the help of video tapes and seminars and has even tracked with the "America's Most Wanted" team.  He says you've got to keep their noses wet. After they work for 30 minutes, you've got to wet them down cause he says you don't want to kill your dogs. "When they sniff like that, they'll dri out and that's why we have to wet them down every 15 minutes," said Bristow.  "They'll start sucking air."

Both Bristow and Mansfield have fulltime jobs and do this as a hobby and a help to those in crisis.  If you'd like more information about the search team or would like to make a contribution, just contact Michael Bristow at (501) 940-9704.