CEDAR CITY She's cute, cuddly and, unlike other four-legged deputies, won't bite on command.
The Iron County Sheriff's Office recently added a new K-9 to its team. Her name: Aerial.
"She's one of our new tools to pull out of the bag," said Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower.
Aerial is a 14-month-old bloodhound donated by a Florida organization and fully trained to use her nose.
She'll find people, weapons and even her own patrol vehicle in the parking lot.
Recently, she and her handler, Jeremy Holm, returned from South Carolina where the team spent about a week training.
"I have to be able to read her signals to me," Holm said.
But before the duo got acquainted, Holm spent a couple months working with Zion K-9 Search and Rescue Inc., working with their bloodhounds and learning how to effectively partner with the dogs.
Despite being a puppy with big feet she'll grow into, Aerial can impressively track scent.
When they were in South Carolina last month, Holm said the K-9 picked up a scent on a burglary when a more experienced dog couldn't.
"Her longest track is three miles long," he said. And that was a scent that was five hours old.
Holm isn't satisfied, though.
He wants to get to the point where the team can track a scent after 48 hours.
"We plan on puttin' her to use," Gower said.
Holm and Aerial will ride together when he's patrolling the county, much like the other two K-9 deputies.
While she wouldn't have been used to search for a Kearns couple who were missing in southern Utah last winter because the search covered such a vast area, she'll put her nose to work finding lost kids or adults, tracking burglary suspects or even suspects who flee after a pursuit.
And it doesn't take much for her to pick up a scent.
From keys to lip gloss to a shoe, she can get a scent and track a human.
She'll even find someone if he or she draws an "x" in the sand with his or her hand.
When she finds her missing friend, she'll nuzzle up close, and, upon Holm's "show me" command, she'll jump on the person.
To keep both Holm's and Aerial's skills up to par, they'll continuously train in an attempt to reach Holm's goal.
"My goal," he said, "is to be the strongest bloodhound team in Utah."