It was every parent's nightmare. Petyon Myrick, 2, was getting ready to go get a Christmas tree with his grandfather. But when his grandfather turned his back for just a few minutes to put air in the tires of the tractor they were going to drive to get the tree, the boy was gone. Just like that.
According to the ABC-7, the boy had wandered off into the area surrounding his grandparents' home in Clover, South Carolina. The terrain was filled with countless dangers such as a pond and thick woods. His parents immediately feared for the worst.
For four long hours the boy was missing as his parents, nearly 400 volunteers, police, and search helicopters hunted for him. It got dark and cold. "I thought, this isn't going to end good," his mother, Carmen Myrick, told CNN.
The one ray of hope, however, was that his grandpa's dog, Ashapoo, was missing too. Since he was always at the boy's side, they hoped they were together.
So when after hours of searching someone saw a black-and-white dog, Peyton's dad, Rich, said he finally had a ray of hope that things might turn out okay. And fortunately they did.
According to ABC-7, Ashapoo led rescuers to Peyton, where he had laid down to take a nap in the woods. "He was uninjured, the dog took care of him, came out when he heard noise, and took the people to Peyton. So we're very blessed," Carmen told the station.
"Ash was his guardian angel in fur last night," Rich said.
It's an amazing story right out of a Lassie movie, and thank goodness the boy is okay. To think of what could have happened without the dog there is horrific, and I hope Ashapoo got a very big bone.
We do not have a dog, and stories like these always make me want one. I love them, but just feel like we don't have the time in our lives for one right now. And I just can't get over the thought of having to board it somewhere every time we go out of town.
But each year -- especially around the holidays -- I think about how special those bonds are between children and animals, and I think ... maybe. This story certainly pushes me further in that direction, as I imagine it will for many people who are thinking about how fun a puppy for Christmas would be. Really, how can it not?
Do your children have a special relationship with your dog if you have one? Are you thinking of getting one if you don't have one?
Image via ABC-7