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David King, a 12-year-old Boy Scout from Hawaii, had the opportunity to prove he could live up to the organization’s “Be prepared” motto during an extended hike.
On Aug. 29, King and his mother, Christine, hit the Waimano Trail for a 15-mile hike, according to CNN. The mother and son trip would help the young man earn the Boy Scout hiking badge to his growing collection.
But as the pair neared the last few miles of their trek, they came upon a couple and their dog. The pair looked all right, King said, but their dog seemed in distress.
“We encountered them with about two to three miles left in the hike,” King told CNN. “It wasn’t obvious (that something was wrong), but then the dog was on the ground, and we asked if they needed anything and they said yes.”
It turned out a local couple named JD and Aimee, along with their 100-pound dog Smokey, planned to only go on a short hike on the trail. However, they somehow got turned around and ended up lost and wandered 7 miles into the trail, according to KHON2 News.
Beyond getting off track, Smokey the pitbull got injured during the hike and had cuts on his paws that made it difficult for him to walk. The dog’s weight made it difficult for JD to carry him back home.
King remembered something his older brother, who is an Eagle Scout, taught him when he was training for his first aid merit badge: You can build a stretcher with a tree branch broken into two pieces and shirts as the fabric in middle.
His mom had some doubts about whether her son’s idea would work. The adults didn’t think the dog would get on a stretcher, Christine told KHON2 News.
“But the dog was so tired —Smokey — that was just very happy to get on the stretcher and we just carried him out,” Christine told KHON2 News in an interview the station shared on YouTube:
The four hikers took turns carrying Smokey as daylight began to fade. Fortunately, everyone made it out safely, and Smokey got the medical attention needed to fix up those scraped-up paws.
King told CNN how important it is for hikers of any ability to be prepared for unexpected delays or emergencies. This includes the Boy Scout 10 Basic Essentials, which include a pocket knife, first aid kit, extra clothing, rain gear, water storage, a flashlight or headlamp, food, matches or fire starters, sun protection, and a map and compass.
And, of course, for scouts-in-training, to take those classes seriously!
“Always listen to instructions and what you are learning in class,” King said in his CNN interview.