Newest Bristol County K-9 unit rescues elderly man with dementia from woods in Berkley

BERKLEY, Mass. (WLNE) – One of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office K-9 units came to the aid of an elderly man with dementia in Berkley this week after the man wandered off into the woods and got lost.

K-9 Officer Filipe DaSilva and his partner, K-9 Robika, graduated from the K-9 academy just one week ago.

“Not in my career I thought that on my first call, my first call to help an agency, that I was actually going to find somebody,” said Officer DaSilva, who started with the K-9 unit four months ago after a career as a corrections officer.

DaSilva said Berkley Police requested a K-9 unit from the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday night, saying they needed help looking for a 69-year-old man who had wandered into the woods behind his home.

The man had dementia and had wandered off in the past.

Officer DaSilva, K-9 Robika and another officer responded around 7 p.m. and started their search.

“Once we got to that area, I gave (Robika) the command basically to search. He had his nose down, there was a few times that he brought his nose up to air scent… At that time we stopped because that’s where they lose their scent.”

The pair backtracked and soon Robika found the missing man’s scent again.

“During the track, there was a lot of other scents. There was horse manure, I think they have two or three horses. He was able to work through that which is amazing,” Officer DaSilva said.

After just a few minutes, DaSilva knew they had something.

“I’d seen a change in behavior. His ears went up, his tail started wagging and he just was paying attention to something. It was at that time that myself and my cover officer, Officer Isherwood, we noticed a pair of white sneakers.”

DaSilva said they spotted the man in the heavy brush on his knees. They reunited him with his family who was grateful for the help from the pair of rookies.

“It’s a great feeling,” DaSilva said. “It’s like winning a million dollars. You’re able to help somebody that’s lost.”

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Categories: Massachusetts, News, Regional News