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UK’s ‘real-life Lassie’ retires after years of saving lives

The Upbeat

Mij in action (photo: Caters News)

For years, Mij was known as the U.K.'s real-life Lassie. The rescue dog saved more lives that any other pooch. Now, after seven years on the job, the 10-year-old collie is calling it a day, according to a report from the Daily Mail.

Mij and owner, Iain Nicholson (Caters News)

During her career, Mij led more than 200 search and rescue missions. She also contributed to the rescues of 14 people the authorities had been looking for. Owner Iain Nicholson spoke with the Daily Mail about what may have been Mij's finest hour.

An elderly woman had been missing for 24 hours when Mij was called in. A team of 100 volunteers had been unable to find the woman. Mij sniffed a piece of the missing woman's clothing and then, within 10 minutes, the collie had found the woman, who had taken a tumble into some wild bushes.

Nicholson said Mij's rescue helped to cement her reputation throughout the U.K. "The woman Mij saved would never have been found but thanks to her she was rushed to hospital and made a full recovery," he told the Daily Mail.

Nicholson with Mij as a puppy (Caters News)

As a pup, Mij was sickly. But Nicholson believed in her potential. Specifically, her nose. Mij learned how to distinguish scents, a technique that helped her find missing people in a crowd. Dogs following in Mij's pawprints are learning the technique, according to the Telegraph:

The method revolutionised the way rescue dogs search in the countryside and is now considered to be at the forefront of training throughout the world.

Paul Durham, of the National Search and Rescue Dog Association, said: "Mij was the first in the UK England to master the method and is now helping to train the new generation of 20 dogs."

"She attended the most search and rescue missions for a trailing dog and the number of people she saved was considerably higher than any othershe is truly remarkable."