Dogs have been used to track people for centuries. Every culture that has dogs, tells stories of them helping find lost children, lost sheep, camels or cows, and tracking down thieves and escaped criminals.
In recent times, dogs have been trained to become professionals in fairly select areas. Police dogs in Australia specialise in sniffing out currency, drugs, firearms and explosives.
Denmark has a highly trained dog police corp where Grade 1 dogs are experts in patrolling, rescue, searching for biological evidence and major crime investigations, and Grade 2 and 3 dogs take on lesser jobs.
The Netherlands also has a well-developed canine corps that includes animals trained to locate drowning people, which is rather unusual.
In Malaysia, dogs are used for many purposes, including rescue, cadaver searching and trace evidence in investigations. The squad that searched the recent Batang Kali landslide tragedy, worked flat out for days.
It was reminiscent of one of most famous stories in human rescue where rescue dogs saved some 302 lives and found 1,700 victims during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China.
Out of the team of 67 search and rescue dogs, German Shepherd Shen Hu caught the public eye. He was credited with rescuing 15 people. Nicknamed Tiger Shen, there is now a statue of him commissioned by the Nanjing Fire Brigade.