A 12-year-old lad put his Boy Scout knowledge to good use when he rescued a couple and their dog who got lost while hiking on a Hawaii trail back in August.
The couple, only identified as JD and Aimee, had only planned to go on an easy two-mile hike with their dog, but they took a wrong turn and ended up seven miles into the trail.
That might not have been a cause for worry, but it was getting dark at the time, and they hadn’t seen anyone for hours.
They also had no extra food or water, and their cellphones had died. And to make matters worse, their blue nose pitbull, Smokey, had cut up his feet and could not walk. JD tried to carry him, but the 100-pound dog was too heavy.
Thankfully, a Boy Scout named David King and his mother Christine ran into the stranded group. The pair were three miles away from finishing a 15-mile hike on the Waimano Trail to earn his Boy Scouts Merit Badge.
“We asked, ‘Oh, do you need any help?’ And they said, ‘Yeah,’” David recalled to KHON-TV. “They showed us the dog’s paws, it had some cuts on it. So, it hurt when the dog would walk. When the dog would walk, it would just be really painful.”
Although the Kings could show the couple the way out, Smokey was in too much pain to continue, and their cellphones didn’t have service.
David then remembered an idea he learned from his older brother, who happened to be an Eagle Scout.
“So we built them a stretcher using a, using a big tree branch that we broke in half and we used our shirts and like slid it on and used the armholes to fit the sticks through,” the boy told the outlet.
Although Christine wasn’t so sure about the plan at first, it was worth a try.
“It was [David’s] idea to make the stretcher,” Christine said. “We didn’t think it would work because we didn’t think the dog would get onto the stretcher. Smokey was just very happy to get on the stretcher. We just carried him out.”
Smokey must have sensed that they were trying to help him, so he cooperated and got up onto the makeshift stretcher. However, between the four of them, lugging the huge dog along the trail was a great challenge.
It was even harder for David, who had already played in a soccer game that morning.
“It was really tough, but we rotated,” he recalled. “So sometimes we did four people, one on each side, or two on each side, and then go to two people — like my mom and the man — and then we’d go back, and then the dog would get off and walk some which was really helpful and let us relax.”
Luckily, the group made it safely to the trailhead. Smokey’s cuts were later treated, and he is doing well.
Many people who read about David’s heroic deed online commended the boy and his mother, saying that the hike he completed may be worth more than one merit badge.
But David wasn’t thinking about the badges he would earn. Knowing he had helped others gave him a sense of accomplishment, and that alone is enough.
“I think that when you help someone out it’s like there’s something, like joy in you, that’s just like, you know you did something good that day,” he said.
The Boy Scout had a little piece of advice for people planning to go on an adventure.
“Make sure that whenever you’re doing an activity, always think of what can go wrong and how you can prevent it,” he said.
David also urged others to bring the following essentials when hiking: a flashlight, pocket knife, first aid kit, rain gear, extra food, water, sunscreen, clothing, fire-starting essentials, a map of the area, and a compass.
Listen to David and Christine as they tell the story of how they rescued the stranded hikers.
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