12:29 PM PT -- Dog's rep tells us he wishes he could have been in FL for the discovery of what appears to be Laundrie's remains. However, we're told the area where the remains were found were not somewhere Dog had access, it was blocked off.
Dog's rep says if the remains turn out not to be Brian's remains, he'll head back to Florida ... but the whole experience has given Dog a new purpose in life, he wants to help families find their lost loved ones or crack open cold cases.
Dog the Bounty Hunter has vacated the state of Florida amid his search for Brian Laundrie -- but that doesn't mean the guy's throwing in the towel ... quite the opposite, in fact.
Sources close to Duane Chapman tell TMZ ... he's back in Colorado -- where he normally lives -- and has plans to meet with his doctor over his recent ankle injury ... which he suffered while on the hunt for the elusive Laundrie.
He might be down and on the mend at the moment, but that doesn't mean Dog is out of the fight -- we're told he still has reason to believe BL is alive ... and will continue filtering through tips.
Speaking of those ... we're told that since he's been back in the Rockies, Dog's received upwards of 4,000 possible leads -- through which he's sifting for one that might be legit. As you can imagine, it's a daunting task -- but DTBH is up for it.
@duanedogchapman / Instagram
Consider this as well ... Dog was roughing it in the Sunshine State -- which our sources say took a toll on him. The guy was seen wading through marshy swamps in the area -- but even beyond that ... we're told he'd been putting in 20-hour days, and sustained injuries that he hasn't really made public ... leaving him cut up and bloodied.
Now, as to whether Dog will return to Florida once he's back to 100% ... we're told he absolutely will. Our sources say Dog is still invested in the case, and will get back into the field soon.