Ex-Police Dog Keeps Barking At Tree, Dad Finds A Lot More Than Wood Inside

Suddenly his ears perked up and his nose dropped. Smith had never seen him act like this before. He knew he was onto something big. His paws dug firmly into the ground.

He wouldn’t move. 
He knew he had to investigate the tree but he also knew this wasn’t going to be pretty. His heart raced as he broke the tree apart. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

It was love at first sight when the Smiths saw retired police dog, Kyle. He had just finished 8 years of service and was ready to spend the rest of his days in a new and loving home. Smith loved taking Kyle out for walks.

They often ventured through woodlands where Kyle would chase squirrels to his heart's content. But that’s not all he was interested in. 

It started off like any other walk until Smith noticed something was wrong with Kyle. He was tense, sniffing frantically, he knew something wasn’t right.  The Smiths were Kyle’s third adoptive family.

He had been given up by his first and second adoptive parents because he belonged to the police force, so they had always been temporary situations. 

Kyle was a talented sniffer dog who helped solve many missing person cases but he had difficulty in expressing aggression as he was a naturally friendly and gentle soul.  However, once he started to work with officer John, his new partner, Kyle’s trained aggression improved greatly as he wanted to protect his new partner, and often, he would do so with his own life. 

Usually, police dogs worked with multiple partners but Kyle didn’t follow anyone else’s command like he did John’s. They had a special bond, so they were assigned to each other permanently. John even adopted him.

But when Kyle retired, John wished he could keep him but he worked too often. He couldn’t give him the attention he needed in his retirement. And that’s where the Smiths came in!

Kyle got along great with the Smiths during the first few months. He encouraged them to exercise and gave them great peace of mind as their protector. His retirement was passing by peacefully until that one fateful day.  The Smiths bought a new house that was situated in the countryside around acres of woodland close by.

It was every dog's dream. But for Kyle, it became a crime scene.

The decision to buy that house was mostly out of consideration for Kyle. Their new home was perfect because there was lots of room to run and exercise.  With mountains, green pastures, and the woods nearby, there were dozens of areas to explore together.

Thomas took Kyle on long walks every day. Until something strange happened.

Kyle loved his daily walks with Thomas but, strangely, he seemed to suddenly lose interest. Most of his early energy was fading, and he seemed less motivated to go on his usual walks. 
These days, when Thomas managed to rouse him from his bed, he would walk quietly beside him.

And, stranger still, Kyle didn't seem to want to go out and explore anymore. 

At first, Thomas thought that Kyle's new behavior was because he was in a relatively new environment and that it would pass. But after several more weeks passed, nothing had changed. Now, Thomas realized that he needed to address the problem. Could it perhaps be something to do with his diet?

They changed the food and treats and tried different brands. They even changed his bed, thinking that maybe it was simply uncomfortable and causing stress on his joints. But nothing seemed to help. It would only be on their next walk that Thomas would know why.

Thomas tried not to think about Kyle's unusual dullness, but he kept getting worse. He was hardly eating his food now.

Thomas began to grow unbearably worried about his friend.His decision to move to the countryside was only because he believed it was the best for Kyle, so why the sudden change?Little did he know, the answer to that was prove to be far more unsettling.

Thomas decided to take Kyle to the vet to get him checked out. The vet performed a thorough physical exam, along with numerous tests to pick up any hidden problems. But when the results came back, the vet told Thomas that Kyle was perfectly healthy and was still in excellent condition.

When Thomas voiced his concerns about Kyle's new behavior and his lack of energy, the vet was puzzled as well. But Thomas had no idea that he was about to solve the case himself -- on their next walk through the woods.

At first, that day's walk was normal, even though Kyle still wasn't acting like himself. Smith had brought Kyle on this route before, but when they started to veer off their usual trail to explore, that’s when Smith noticed something off about Kyle.The change was drastic and sudden.

Thomas had no idea that a nasty surprise was waiting just around the corner.

This was the longest time Kyle had been out of the city. He usually seemed to enjoy the long walks at his new home until recently.

But today, something had changed. Kyle's hackles rose slightly as he picked up speed, jerking the lead from Tomas' hands as he ran into the woods and out of sight.

For a while now, Kyle had begun to act a little out of character. He was sullen and uninterested in food. He was slower.

But on this walk, he suddenly perked his ears up and Smith saw Kyle for the first time as the police dog he used to be. His training kicked in as he sniffed frantically, following a trail that led him to a tree. Smith called him back but he wouldn’t come. 

Like all dogs, Kyle enjoyed sniffing everything he encountered on his walks. He'd often discover small animals, old toys that children had left behind, and once; some old clothes.

If there was anything out of the ordinary on his trail, Kyle would find it. But this time, the source of whatever was unsettling him so much would end in a full-blown investigation.

When Thomas caught up, he was confused by Kyle's strange behavior. He looked up, thinking that maybe there was an animal in the tree above that was taunting him.But, with the branches left bare of leaves by winter, he quickly ruled that out.

Whatever Kyle was smelling had to be something he couldn't see. What was wrong?

Thomas called him again but it was no use. Instead, Kyle lay down, frozen.Thomas tried to get him to move by luring him to his side with his favorite treats. He yelled commands at him, and when that didn't work, he pulled gently on his collar.

However, Kyle had learned determination and discipline during his training. At some point, he stopped sniffing and sat down next to a huge tree. 

Thomas was perplexed and slightly annoyed by Kyle's behavior and the stubbornness he was exhibiting. Although Thomas was confused, he was also very curious to find out what could trouble this highly-trained dog so much.  Thomas wasn’t sure what to do, so he called John, Kyle’s ex-partner.

Seeing as they had worked together for so many years, maybe he had seen Kyle do this before? Hopefully, would know a command or a way to get Kyle to obey.

When John saw the call coming in from Kyle's new owner, his heart skipped a beat. Was Kyle sick? Had something happened to him?

When Thomas explained what had been going on, starting with Kyle's change in behavior and his refusal to move, John couldn't help but feel relieved.Something had indeed happened to Kyle, but it was not as bad as he had imagined. And, luckily for Thomas, John did recognize this particular behavior. He explained that whenever they had searched for clues in a case and Kyle found a lead, he was trained to sit and wait near it.

When Thomas further explained that Kyle was sitting at the foot of a tree at that very moment, John became anxious. He was wondering what could be in or around that could warrant Kyle's warning.Thomas looked around to see if he could get help, but who was he kidding?

They were in the deep of the woods with no chance of anyone passing by.

John explained that Kyle was trained to do this if he picked up a scent that was out of the ordinary or presented a danger.He told Smith to investigate the tree, but to be careful as it could be dangerous. “Is it drugs?” Smith thought.

No, what he’d find was so much worse.

As Smith approached the tree, he saw that the bark was loose. Kyle began to bark loudly. Feeling encouraged, Smith braced himself and peeled it back, revealing the hollow inside of the tree.  After peering into the dark, suddenly his eyes focused and he jumped back.

It wasn't drugs. Kyle, on high-alert, awaited his follow up command. 

Afraid that he would mess with the crime scene, he made sure not to touch the tree again. Without a moment's hesitation, Smith pulled out his phone and called the only person he could think to report it to -- he shakily dialed John's number.  With his voice trembling, he described exactly what Kyle had found in that old tree.

John, highly disturbed and utterly incredulous, rushed to gather forensics experts before they all raced out to the scene. 

As soon as he sees the familiar sight of the cruisers, Kyle can’t contain his excitement.

He runs toward John to a reunion that would drive you to tears.
John enthusiastically greeted his old buddy, but with a serious matter to attend to, he soon made his way to the tree. 

John pulls back the portion of loose tree bark. His heart raced and his hands trembled as Kyle urges him on with his frantic barking.  When he looks inside the tree, his eyes pop as he confirms the heinous sight Thomas had described to him.

He would need backup. What is it? 

Kyle had led them to a human skeleton that had been stashed within the tree. However, it was so well packed within the tree that they had to carefully chop it down to assess what they were dealing with.  Everyone held their breath as the remains were gently extricated.

Who had they found? What had happened?

As they continued their work, Thomas was amazed at how lively Kyle became. It was like he was back to his normal self.  Thomas noted how much Kyle loved John.

But while he was watching Kyle, new information was unfolding. 

Officer John felt completely out of his depth when he saw the remains that had been stashed in the hollow tree.

Ready to inform his chief police officer so that they could send more reinforcements out, he began to dial.But just before he could get hold of the station, someone stopped him.

One of the forensic experts he'd brought with him placed a hand on his shoulder and stopped him before he could place the call.

And it would turn out to be a good thing that they did.They unpacked their tools and began to analyze the skeleton to try to place its origin. 

Usually, forensic investigators need at least a week to conclusively determine whose remains had been found and where or what they had originated from.  They had stopped John from making the call because what they had discovered meant that further investigation wouldn't be necessary in this case.

They already had everything they needed.

For John, the trip down to Kyle's new home was excruciating and took far longer than he realized. After two hours on the road, they were still driving.  John had been so busy with work that he hadn't been to visit Kyle since he had been adopted by the Smiths.

He felt a stab of guilt about his old partner as they finally arrived. 

The skeleton was a life-sized human skeleton, but it was also a fake. Someone must have planted it as a Halloween scare or prank within the tree bark and forgot about it.They laugh in relief but what they couldn’t understand is why Kyle would alert them to a situation like this.

He would have been trained to learn the difference between non-threatening and threatening smells. Then it clicked.

Thomas was the first to put two and two together. He realized Kyle just wanted to see John. His recent behaviors showed signs of loneliness, he was missing his best friend and former partner. He knew John would come running at his police behavior.

Perhaps that’s why he did this. Was it orchestrated? Kyle had been looking at John since he arrived. 

John looked down at his ex-partner, who was still jumping around in excitement, licking his hands and nuzzling his legs.

Then, it dawned on him that maybe this had never been about the skeleton.  John recalled that, in all their years of working together, there was only one quick and foolproof way to get his attention.

Kyle must have known that there was no quicker way to make John rush to him... all he had to do was sit and bark when he found something -- just like he'd been trained to do.

John couldn't help but laugh out loud when everything began to make sense. He bent down and scratched Kyle's head and looked deeply into his brown eyes. 

Kyle's signal was a secret message for John, the partner he had missed so much.

He'd missed him so deeply that he had to figure out how to see him again.  Even though Kyle hadn't seen John since he'd moved to his new home, he remembers the days when they worked together and remains loyal.

John, still looking into Kyle's eyes, was incredibly moved by his display of unwavering loyalty and love. He decided to stay at the scene for a little longer so that he could spend some quality time with his ex-partner.  As they walked around the woods alone, John could see how happy Kyle was.

And, before leaving, John made a promise: he was going to visit Kyle as often as he could.

Now, John looked back at him for a while and laughed wholeheartedly.

He looked at Kyle wagging his tail with a goofy grin, still jumping up and down with happiness.  Kyle's lack of energy and enthusiasm had completely disappeared when he saw John -- he was acting like a completely different dog.

John felt a sudden pain of guilt and heartache but knew he had made the right decision. With Thomas by his side, petting Kyle and laughing along with the ruckus he caused, he thought: "What a smart old pup!" This story illustrates how little credit we give dogs.

But sometimes, a dog is smart enough to save an entire family...

The dog had displayed some bizarre quirks and behaviors before, but what he was doing now was like nothing he'd ever seen. Every day, Benjamin knew something was off. But when he finally got to the bottom of the problem, he was lost for words.

They had to do something rather sneaky and very underhanded, but he didn't care. He had to find out the truth; no matter what.

Benjamin and Hope Jordan were living the American dream. They both had great careers, their seven-month-old baby Finn was thriving, and their lovable pitbull Killian was always beside them.

Now, all they needed was someone to protect their South Carolina home while they were out. But something was about to infiltrate their suburban paradise, and there was no way they could have prepared for it.

With a young child to take care of, the Jordans knew they would need to hire full-time help to look after their home while they put in the hours at work. Luckily, Finn seemed to warm instantly to a young woman they interviewed, Alexis Khan.

As soon as her background check came through, they didn’t hesitate to call her and offer her the job. But in their excitement, the couple failed to notice how their dog was behaving around the new member of the household. 

The strange thing was that Benjamin had never encountered such a well-behaved dog in his life. Despite what people say about Pit Bulls, Killian had never been anything other than loving and protective toward the Jordan family.

So when Benjamin and Hope learned that Killian didn’t act the same way when they were out of the house, they knew something was up.

Benjamin received a phone call at work one day. It was from Alexis. “If you don’t get this dog under control, I’m out of here!” she yelled.

When he asked her to explain, Alexis revealed that Killian spent the whole day staring at her and would growl whenever she tried to clean or prepare food. “It stops me from moving around the house. It makes me feel uncomfortable” she said, in tears.

Benjamin just couldn’t understand any of this. He had never seen Killian do anything like what Alexis was saying, but her safety came first.

When he returned from work that day, Benjamin spent the evening with Killian and noticed nothing odd about him. But when he received yet another complaint from Alexis the next morning, he knew that something was going on. 

Benjamin had been a dog owner for as long as he could remember, so he had a wide circle of friends in the canine community. He reached out to members of a Facebook group he was part of. Some suggested it could be an old habit that the new person had triggered in him.

Others thought he might be jealous of all the attention Alexis was giving baby Finn. Benjamin knew he wasn’t seeing the whole picture, so he’d have to find out a way to get some extra insight into what was going on when they were away. 

Then, Alexis reported more strange behavior from Killian. Benjamin and Hope had to beg her not to hand in her resignation on several occasions, and they even doubled her salary to get her to stay. The 22-year-old nanny claimed that this was the hardest job she’d ever had because of Killian - she even showed Benjamin the marks on her arm where Killian had jumped up on her.

Benjamin and Hope promised Alexis that they would find a solution if she could just hang on a little longer. The desperate Jordans had no choice but to do something quite drastic.

It had taken them months to find Alexis. Finn could be quite badly behaved when he wanted to be, but he was so good when Alexis was around. It seemed as if she really brought out the best in him.

Benjamin had considered keeping Benjamin fenced off while Alexis was in the house, but with the layout of the house and Alexis needing access to all rooms, it just wasn’t practical. Then Hope had a thought. Maybe Killian was trying to warn her about something?

Once the thought had crossed her mind, Hope was certain that the only explanation was that there was some kind of danger in the house and Killian was simply trying to alert Alexis to it. Perhaps they had a wasp nest? Or maybe someone was staking the place out for a burglary?

In Hope’s mind, there was only one way to prove once and for all what was causing Killian’s weird outbursts. Little did she know, the "danger" in the house would turn out to be something far more disturbing.

Hope’s plan was to slip an extra phone under Finn's crib and hit the audio record button to see if they could hear what was triggering Killian to bark so aggressively. They trusted Killian with their own baby, so they had to give him the benefit of the doubt before they followed through with Alexis’ demands to get rid of him.

But Benjamin wasn’t so sure. They would need a better plan to be sure they were getting the most accurate information about their dog.

Being an amateur electronics hobbyist, Benjamin used some parts from an old phone to build a tiny recording device -- so tiny that it would nestle easily under Killian’s collar and be hidden by his thick fur. This would allow them to secretly listen to what was going on even when the dog wasn’t in the nursery.

The pair couldn’t wait to get home to retrieve the recording later that evening. They hoped it would finally shed some light on what was triggering their normally-placid dog -- once and for all.

When they got home from work that day, Benjamin and Hope made a beeline for Killian and quickly retrieved the device from his fur.  Alexis had immediately complained about Killian when they walked in, so they knew they would be listening to a valuable recording. Once Finn was in bed, Benjamin connected the device to his laptop so they could listen to the day’s activities.

But when they heard the audio, the couple’s jaws came unhinged.

The first thing they heard was “a lot of swearing,” Benjamin said in his statement. But that wasn’t the half of it. As they expected, Alexis’ voice could clearly be heard on the recording shouting at the dog to "get out," while Killian responded with growling and barking.

But there was more. Before they could even discuss it, Benjamin called 911.

The secret bug they’d hidden in the dog’s fur had revealed that Alexis had been cursing at baby Finn -- something they now realized she’d been doing for weeks. Benjamin played the recording to the police, who listened attentively and showed sympathy for what the Jordans were going through.  But a simple audio recording was unlikely to hold up in court.

Then the cops heard the rest of the recording and they knew they had to do something.

“I wanted to reach through the recording and bust her there and then,” said Benjamin of the untrustworthy employee. As he held the evidence in one hand and looked at Killian, he felt so guilty that he hadn’t been able to act sooner.  But now they had proof, it didn’t take them long to work out what had to be done.

Benjamin and Hope would get justice for what had occurred under their roof while they were gone.

However, despite it being clear to anyone that heard the audio what was happening, the police didn’t want to make a move until they had better evidence. Benjamin and Hope tried to find somewhere in the house they could hide a camera, but it would have easily been discovered as Alexis had cleaning responsibilities.

Unable to build a stronger case, there was only one option to take -- but it was a long shot. 

Once they got Alexis in an interrogation room, it didn’t take long for her to crack. The Charleston City Police detective accused her of not taking care of the baby properly and the confession came flowing out.  Alexis Khan was sentenced and made to sign a register to stop her working in the industry.

“That is such good news,” Benjamin said, “to know that Killian was responsible for protecting our family.”

“I had been allowing her access to our home for months,” said Benjamin, remorsefully. “Had Killian not sounded the alarm, had I not bugged him with the recording device..." he added, trailing off.

It was very clear to all involved that Alexis was not the right person for the job. Benjamin and Hope were just grateful that it ended the way it did.

Needless to say, Killian was showered with all the treats he could stomach, some new dog toys, and a fresh bone. He was even awarded a medal by the local authorities for bringing an unfit babysitter to justice.

But can we really rely on our dogs to alert us to unscrupulous people entering our homes? We can’t all have pets that are as heroic as Killian!