Home Instead offering free K9 training to protect those at risk of wandering

Monongalia and Preston

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Home Instead, a company specializing in non-medical in-home care, will be hosting a scent discriminate K9 trailing seminar for area agency K9 handlers and community partners at Mylan Park June 7 – 10, 2021 to raise community awareness for populations at risk of wandering and enhance agency K9 Unit missing person response.

Former FBI Forensic Canine Specialist and Scent Evidence K9 CEO, Paul Coley, will be instructing the training which covers advanced scent discriminate K9 trailing methods and an innovative Scent Kit program that provides a way for families and caregivers to pre-collect a person’s unique scent before a wandering event occurs.

Everly holding a scent kit

Each individual has their own scent, so this is a scent kit that, actually, the canine units here are going to be training on. It’s how to use these kits and how to, actually, bring the wandering home. Statistically, the majority of people who tend to wander are those with Alzheimer’s and those that are autistic. And with those individuals, I believe from looking at statistics, 60% of individuals with dementia or that are autistic tend to wander, or at least once or so in their life span. So, we are here today to be proactive. Again, we have canine units here from two hours away that are coming here this week and are going to participate in this training so we can give back to the community and make a difference throughout the state of West Virginia. 

Monica Everly – General Manager, Home Instead Morgantown

Monday, June 7, was the first seminar day. The Granville Police Department, Kanawha Co. Sheriff’s Department and the Preston Co. Sheriff’s department took part. First, Coley gave a presentation in the morning, then they all went to Mylan Park to take part in real-world training.

K9 unit practicing in the first day of training

The three K9 units were trained in different scenarios, Everly said. They all, of course, focused on finding someone who wanders away.

“We’re going to do crowded spaces, and just different things, just different scenarios throughout the week to better prepare them on bringing the lost home,” she said.

The units used Coley’s Scent Preservation Kit, which hold in a person’s smell until they are opened.

Inside the kit, there’s a jar, Everly said, which contains a special preservative to keep scents alive for seven to 10 years once sealed. There is also a flash drive in the kit with a preparedness plan. Everly said that’s because when a loved one goes missing, there are little details their families and friends may forget to share with local authorities.

Closer look at the Scent Preservation Kit

However, with the flash drive, you can have a recent picture of the individual who has wandered away.

“If they are autistic and they are nonverbal, you can actually have that in their preparedness to say they are nonverbal,” Everly said. “If someone has dementia, you know, you may have to approach that individual differently than you with others, so, this is kind of all in one. But, this would be in the home, and when the individual comes up missing, we can actually let MECCA 911 and other authorities know that there is a scent kit in the home, so then they can dispatch the dogs that are trained and find individuals.”

Coley, Evelyn said, has had a lot of success with his scent kits and they have benefited many people. In Florida alone, she said, his company, Scent Evidence K9, has found more than 70 people who went missing.

Scent preservation jars used during Monday’s Training

A couple weeks ago there was a nonverbal autistic child who came up missing , Everly said and he was found in less than 10 minutes.

“By the time the family notified authorities, they got there with the dog, they found the child six minutes later, so, that’s exciting,” Everly said. “And with individuals with dementia, they have had a huge success rate on finding those individuals as well. So, I think that here in the community this is something that we can benefit from. But we need to educate individuals and we need to train our canine units on how to use these kits, so we can make a difference.”

If anyone wants additional information, or to even watch the training happening, they can do so, Everly said. Training will be going on until June 10 at Mylan Park starting at 1 p.m.

“Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Home Instead, our contact number is 304-906-4333,” she said. “You can also find out more information about Paul Coley and his company Scent Evidence Canine. They’re on Facebook and on YouTube.

Kanawha Co. Sheriff’s Department vehicle

Furthermore, if you are interested in buying a scent kit, you can. Everly said there 200 kits available in the Home Instead Morgantown office. During the week of training, it will be offering the kits at a discounted rate of $15 instead of the normal price of $20+.

She said she was grateful to all law enforcement who will take part in the training because that can make a fundamental difference in saving someone’s life after they wander.

“I also want to thank Defense in Depth here in Morgantown, Seaman Law Office and Mylan Park, because they have helped sponsor some of these events that are taking place to help and give back to the community as well,” Everly said. “So, I want to say thank you to them as well for you know, being here and supporting this.”

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