Two family dogs are being credited with staying with, and protecting, a lost child in Seneca, Mo.
According to Saturday's Joplin Globe, six-year-old Ryle Smith wandered away from his yard and into the woods with his dogs, Baxter, a 10-year-old boxer, and Bella, a Labrador retriever mix, on Friday night.
As the sun dipped, the child became disoriented in the dark and was not able to find his way back to his own yard.
When Ryle failed to return home, search parties quickly formed and headed out to help find the little boy.
Around 10 p.m., rescuers were successful in their search, finding the child, curled up beneath his two dogs, in a ditch.
Though temperatures had plummeted below freezing, the child fared well because the dogs had shared their own warmth.
The boy described how his dogs took care of him, stating:
“Bella was my guard dog and Baxter was next to me the whole time.”
Ryle's father, Ryan Smith, expressed his gratitude to the two canine heroes, telling the Joplin Globe:
“They both were incredible in the way that they protected him,”
“They wouldn’t have left him for anything. You can’t ask for more in a dog than that.”
Man's best friend indeed.
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