ACTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — When five-year-old Christopher Grecco was reported missing Sunday night, Dorothy Smail came to offer help.

A member of Maine Search And Rescue Dogs, Smail brought her skills and her German Shepherd Tala to rural Acton to aid emergency search crews with a clear head and calm demeanor- she knew what to do.


At about 2:20 Monday morning, after state police, game wardens, York County Sheriff's deputies, fire department personnel, and volunteers searched the area for more than seven hours, Tala came across the young boy.

"She did her job," Smail said of Tala. "She went over and found him and then came back and told me, and took me to him."

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Christopher was lying on the ground when Smail approached.

"He was actually playing dead," Smail explained. Smail nodded at Tala and said, "He actually thought she was a fox, and that she might bother him unless he played dead."

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Once that misunderstanding was cleared up, Smail said the boy introduced himself to her. After that, Smail called the Warden Service and told them she would walk Christopher out of the thick woods.

In finding Christopher alive and safe comes the feeling of relief, but Smail said she is also excited- this is the duo's first find during a search and rescue effort. However, Smail credits her pal Tala for the success.

"She's a very smart dog. She does all the work," Smail said. "I just set up the problem."