Max, a 10-week-old German shepherd puppy, bounded through the grass of Lory State Park toward his new owner, Wendy Nicastle.

She crouched, hiding in the yellowing grass. When he got to her, she erupted in cheers and rubbed his back.

“Good job buddy,” she said.

Although Sunday's exercise was just a game for Max, finding a person in the future could mean life or death.

The simple hide-and-seek game was the beginning of more than 2,000 hours of training Max and Nicastle will go through together to prepare Max for a life as a search and rescue dog.

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