A pet dog, that sniffed out the body of a two-year-old landslide victim in Kerala’s Idukki district, and subsequently won the hearts of rescue personnel and several others across the state, will have a new home in the police dog squad.
On the eighth day of search and rescue operations at Pettimudi, where a major landslide buried the residential quarters of tea plantation workers and claimed over 60 lives, it was Koovi that led rescue personnel to the side of a bridge and found the body of two-year-old Dhanushka.
It was later learnt that the dog was raised by Dhanushka’s family and was therefore, attached to them. However, only Karuppayi, Dhanushka’s grandmother, survived the tragedy.
Civil police officer Ajith Madhavan, who is also a trainer at the district police dog squad, volunteered to adopt Koovi after he saw the dog walk listlessly across the landslide site without food and water. On Friday, he was granted permission for the same by district and forest authorities.
It is unclear, however, if Koovi will receive training as part of the dog squad or get inducted into the force.
Since the day of the tragedy, Koovi, along with another pet dog that belonged to one of the families in the area, was seen running across the site where four rows of nearly 30 asbestos-roofed rooms stood earlier. When The Indian Express visited the site, boulders, slush and mangled remains of jeeps and motorcycles were found in the area.
The roofs of a couple of houses could be seen sticking out of the debris.
Though sniffer dogs were brought in the initial days of the rescue operations, the cold weather conditions affected them adversely. Subsequently, local pet dogs like Koovi assisted rescue personnel in detecting bodies.
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