Cops Finally Locate Missing Child, Then Realize The Threat Is Far From Over
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Cops Finally Locate Missing Child, Then Realize The Threat Is Far From Over

If you don’t have your eyes glued to your toddler at all times, they could disappear at any moment. In high-traffic places like New York City and Disney World, parents sometimes even leash their children! Still, you’d think it’d be hard to lose a child in the secluded quaintness of the woods. So when an unsupervised three-year-old boy from Florida wandered off into the thick of the woods, his mother was was worried sick, but as it turned out, he wasn’t journeying alone…

When a Live Oak, Florida, toddler was playing in the woods with his siblings, his mother thought nothing of it. Seeing the little tykes frolicking and enjoying the great outdoors warmed her heart…until she looked out the window and noticed someone was missing.

Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach. What was she supposed to do? Of course the mama — who later declined to provide her name — cried out for her son and searched the entire house. At her wit’s end, she dialed 911.

ThePlusSideOfThings / YouTube

She contacted the Suwannee County Sheriff’s office, explaining her predicament through tears and broken words. She described the frightening situation as best she could, and soon discovered that her son wasn’t the only one who blindly wandered off.

Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

Along with her sweet blonde boy, the family dog, Buddy, also vanished. The pit bull and the innocent toddler could’ve been anywhere, possibly quite far from each other. Worst of all, dogs and kids are notoriously curious creatures…

John Gibbins

Thinking about the trouble both her son and dog could easily get into made this Florida mom’s head spin. Well, patrol deputies and investigators with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, along with K9 units from Suwannee Correctional Institution, were on the case.

Suwannee Country Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

Looking high and low, they made it their mission to search every crevice of the woods…if they were even still there. It was hard not to imagine every macabre possibility, but the mama stayed strong.

@saravanpeursem / Instagram

With no evidence of his whereabouts, footprints, or dropped belongings, though, the police were left scratching their heads. Even the K9 units struggled, unable to locate the youngster based on his scent. But it wasn’t long before the police station received another call.

City of Lansing

A perturbed neighbor called the police station, stating he spotted an unsupervised child with a dog by his side. According to the police station, the neighbor explained how “the dog wouldn’t let him get near the child.”

GoFundMe

It had to be Buddy and the missing boy! The brown-and-white pup acted as a bodyguard, refusing to let any stranger approach the little one. It was both heartwarming and astounding, and definitely made Buddy a credit to his controversial breed…

@quick.rocket.thepitbull / Instagram

Due to their heinous reputation as fighting dogs (which is entirely due to human influence), pit bulls are often seen as a danger to small children. Buddy, on the other hand, seemingly would’ve done anything to protect his little friend.

DARKDYNASTYK9S / YouTube

In reality, if you train pit bulls and raise them in a stable environment, they’re wonderful pets. But police weren’t so sure the dog wouldn’t turn on the child upon feeling stressed or threatened.

Sandlot K9

It’s actually a myth that pit bulls are more likely to “turn” on their owners than other dog breeds, so the cops didn’t fret for long. When police arrived on the scene, they saw Buddy alert and on the lookout, evidently waiting for help to arrive.

Sandlot K9

WCTV Eyewitness News obtained police bodycam footage from the search, which showed the muscular dog confidently leading the way to the boy’s exact location! He knew what he needed to do to protect and save his family.

Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

Buddy acted as a four-legged GPS, steering the patrol deputies to the missing child. Thankfully, both Buddy and the toddler are now home, completely safe and sound. We imagine the mother won’t be taking her eyes off of her boy until he turns 18.

Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

“It was such a good ending to something that could have been tragic,” Sheriff Sam St. John told WCTV Eyewitness News. Well, he wasn’t wrong: It’s not every day that a little boy and his dog return from the woods unscathed…

Florida Sheriffs Association

The little boy could’ve tripped and broken a bone, wandered into the street and gotten hit by a car, or even gotten kidnapped! Thankfully, no one had to think about any of those gruesome possibilities.

Considering all the horrid news stories we take in daily, the sheriff felt this story was beyond refreshing. “We’re all the time putting out tragic news. I’m telling you, it feels so good, so good to tell a good story,” the sheriff continued.

Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office / Facebook

“Fortunately, we were able to reunite the child with his mother, thanks in part to ‘man’s best friend’ and an alert neighbor,” the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post. The Sheriff’s Office considered Buddy a hero.

Sandlot K9

The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office adorably completed the post with the hashtags “give that dog a bone,” “man’s best friend” and “Lassie ain’t got nothing on Buddy.” We can only hope Buddy was given lots of treats and belly rubs after a hard day’s work.

@suwanneesheriff / Instagram

Despite the negative stereotypes surrounding pit bulls being “monsters,” there are loads of stories proving their warm, nurturing instincts, especially with children. But every pup is different, and when choosing to adopt a pit bull, just know that the dog may have a brutal past.

Barcroft

Bringing a rescue dog — especially one that’s been abused — into your home can be a scary prospect. You can’t help but worry that the dog might instinctively resort to aggressive behavior, and Linda Hickey knew this feeling all too well.

Linda and her husband, Grant, lived with their two sons and dogs in Johns Creek, Georgia, when they considered bringing a rescue puppy into the family. The puppy had an intriguing story, but Linda worried if a packed house was the ideal place for a once-abused pooch.

Complicating matters further, the couple’s youngest, Jonny, had been diagnosed with autism before his first birthday. “He wasn’t reaching his milestones,” Linda said. They would have to worry not only about how the puppy would react, but how their son would react, too.

Xena The Warrior Puppy / Youtube

“I couldn’t even order cold cuts at the deli counter,” Grant added. “I’d roll up to the deli counter and say, ‘give me a half pound of this, a half pound of that,’ and Jonny would just start screaming.” Obviously, it was a delicate situation.

Xena The Warrior Puppy / Youtube

The parents knew all too well the anxiety that came with introducing anything new — let alone an abused animal — to the family. How could she make an adoption work? Would it just become one more thing that would aggravate Jonny?

CNN / YouTube

Still, Linda had fallen in love with the little pit bull, aptly named Xena the Warrior Puppy. She’d been watching the nightly news when images of the abused pup appeared on the screen. At that time, authorities were on the lookout for those who had hurt the poor dog.

Xena the Puppy Warrior / YouTube

The broadcast mentioned a Facebook page for Xena, and Linda headed there right away. “I would pray for her at night, and first thing in the morning… I would sign in [to Facebook] to see if she had made it through the night.” There was no denying it: Linda was in puppy love!

Linda wasn’t the only one concerned about the puppy’s future. Chrissy Kaczynski—founder of Friends of Animals—was one of the pooch’s caretakers. “In all the years that I have been doing rescue,” she said, “I have never seen a puppy in that same condition.”

Xena The Warrior Puppy / Youtube

Xena kept fighting, and with medicine, rest, and love, her health greatly improved. “She just got better and better every day and just became more of a regular puppy,” Chrissy said. Soon, she’d be ready to leave intensive care and find a forever home—and Linda jumped at the chance.

Xena The Warrior Puppy / Youtube

“After talking to Linda, we decided that they would be the best home if it would work out with them,” Chrissy confirmed. But how would this once-abused puppy and the family’s autistic son get along? There was only one way to find out…

It was decided that Linda would host Xena for a trial visit. Thankfully, Xena couldn’t contain her excitement! When Grant came home for lunch, Xena was there to plant a smooch right on his face. But the real test—Jonny—was still at school.

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

The family already had several dogs, and Jonny paid zero attention to them. As his dad put it, “It was as if they [Jonny and the dogs] were in parallel worlds,” that never intersected. Would the boy behave similarly with Xena? And would another dog be too many?

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

It was time for the moment of truth. With Xena in tow, Linda drove to Jonny’s school to pick him up. “He couldn’t believe it,” she said, stunned. “It was a complete surprise: she’s lickin’ him all over his face, and he’s smiling ear to ear.” It appeared that the two bonded instantly!

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

Their friendship only became stronger from there. Later that evening, Linda caught Jonny reading to Xena in the family room. “We’ve spent thousands of dollars on therapy,” she said. “That was the best therapy standing on four legs in the family room.”

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

Linda had been so worried, but Xena was, as Chrissy put it, “a great example of how so many [pit bulls] can endure such great abuse and become absolutely remarkable family dogs.” Incredibly, Xena’s affection for Jonny did more than just give him a friend…

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Thanks to his newfound friendship, the once unbelievably shy Jonny started to open up! Now when Grant and Linda brought him to the grocery store, he wanted to go inside. That was a far cry from the kid who would throw fits at the deli counter!

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

Everything in Jonny’s life was controlled for him, but with Xena, he was regularly chopping up food and feeding the dogs all on his own. As his anxiety decreased, his opportunities to engage in the world around him increased. And it was all thanks to Xena!

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

In fact, Jonny’s behavior improved beyond just his willingness to go into the supermarket. Before Xena, he’d only had “bad” and “okay” days at school; with his new pet, he started having great days—and he was even named superstar of the week!

Xena the Warrior Puppy / YouTube

The duo shared their camaraderie with the world in a YouTube video that raised awareness about a canine’s effects on autism. In the video, Jonny said “we make a good team to spread the word,” but that might’ve been an understatement!

Pinterest

Xena’s effects on Jonny didn’t go unnoticed; for all she did, the ASPCA recognized her as their “Dog of the Year” in 2013! Not only did adopting Xena save the dog, but it saved Jonny, too! Just watch the ASPCA’s tribute to Xena to see how much she impacted her new family…

The post Cops Finally Locate Missing Child, Then Realize The Threat Is Far From Over appeared first on Eternally Sunny.

Cops Finally Locate Missing Child, Then Realize The Threat Is Far From Over

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