A 3-year-old boy is safely back with his parents, thanks to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources K9 unit.
The boy wandered away from his rural Itasca County home on July 3. He had a history of seizures, and his medication was due shortly after he disappeared.
Search and rescue teams were called in, including DNR conservation officer Mike Fairbanks, and his German shepherd, Si.
Fairbanks said his dog is trained to sniff out spent bullet casings, dead fish, game animals and people — which is ideal for his main job: tracking down poachers.
Those tracking skills also came in handy when the boy went missing. Within a few minutes, Si caught the scent and led Fairbanks straight to the boy, just a little less than a mile down a nearby gravel road.
When he saw Fairbanks and Si coming, the child tried to run away.
"We had to run to catch up," Fairbanks said. "He was dirty from playing in the mud puddles along the way. But other than that, he was OK."
Fairbanks has worked with Si for five years. In that time, the dog has helped rescue several lost hunters and one other lost child.