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Dog aids in rescue of missing Prescott woman

Alan and Carol White with Nala.

Alan and Carol White with Nala.

Nala, a yellow lab, is part of the Yavapai County Search and Rescue team that found Gerlean Langford, 86, near Willow Lake around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18.

Langford had gone missing from the Mountain View Manor care facility on Sandretto Drive at about 6 p.m. According to a press release, Prescott Fire Department treated Langford for minor injuries she sustained due to a fall, but she was found in good condition.

Alan and Carol White found Nala through the Fetch Foundation, a rescue organization, and began training her three years ago as an air scent dog, which work off the leash. They trained Nala to range out in front about 50 feet; she moves side to side covering about 30 feet. Once she locates the scent of a person, Nala returns to the Whites and alerts them of the find, then leads them back out to the person.

“Nala also is trained to find articles of clothing and also cadavers for the unhappy outcome that might happen. But last night was a happy outcome,” Carol White said.

She knew Nala was ahead of her up on a large bank of dirt when Nala barked, came down and went back up and barked again.

“As I came over the top, I flashed my flashlight and saw Gerry sitting on the ground. I stood behind her so she could lean up against me. My husband came with water and we notified the sheriff’s department that we have a find,” she said. “It was a team effort.”

Finding someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s is near to Carol’s heart, as she took care of her mother who had dementia. Now, Carol owns Home Care Assistance, which provides non-medical in-home care for seniors, many who have dementia.

Medical personnel checked Langford, who appeared to not be fully aware of where she was or what was happening, White said.

“She wasn’t aware of the danger she was in. It was a warm night, but it’s kind of scary with the day-time temperatures so hot,” she added.

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