Willie, a two-and-a-half year-old yellow Lab and an arson detection dog for the Fort Worth fire department, got loose from his handler at about 8 p.m. Monday night, said fire department spokesman Mike Drivdahl.
Less than three hours after the fire department reached out on Facebook for the public’s help, Willie was found in a back yard, according to Fort Worth police.
“We’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened” in Willie’s escape, Drivdahl said. Arson detection dogs live with their handlers, he said.
The dog was lost near near North Crowley High School, the fire department said. He was missing until shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and was found about a mile and a half away from home, Drivdahl said.
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Drivdahl said the department had people looking for Willie all night.
Willie is one of three dogs employed by the department to sniff out accelerant and explosive substances like gasoline and charcoal in arson investigations.
“They’re trained to pick up on those scents, and since their sense of smell is so fantastic, they do a pretty good job,” Drivdahl said.
Willie has only been on the force for a few months, Drivdahl said.
“He’s a rookie,” he said, adding that Willie hasn’t gotten in on an investigation yet. He said he didn’t know what it cost to train an arson detection dog.