Amid the flurry of pandemic and election news, this small yet mighty story about a little boy, a friendly dog, and a good neighbor caught our attention. Early in the morning on October 1, little Kh’amarion Taylor was wobbling along on his short legs down a St. Louis, MO street, still wearing his pajamas.
Trotting alongside him was his trusty new pit-bull friend, a stray dog who stayed with him the whole time he was missing.
That’s when a good neighbor walking her own dogs saw the unlikely pair and spent the next several hours going house to house asking if they knew this boy and his canine companion. The neighbor, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s time that we get back to close, caring, community support… It’s important that we help each other and stick together and go back to the things that our grandparents did.”
After seeing a picture of Kh’amarion on social media, the boy’s father saw the posts being shared by neighbors and was soon happily, and safely, reunited with his son. The St. Louis Police Department commented that they may adopt the canine hero into the force.
With so much happening right now, heartwarming stories of good neighbors, loving animals, and of communities that stick together is exactly what we need. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of six stories about times when dogs were real heroes for kids—just a little something for you to feel good about.
1) Police Dog Finds Teen Missing for Four Days
Putnam, a bloodhound K9 in the Putnam County Police Department in Florida helped find a teenager with muscular dystrophy who was missing for four days. Putnam picked up the boy’s scent after police found some of the teenager’s belongings as a starting point for the search. Law enforcement all over the country enlist the help of K9s when it comes to searching for a missing child. “The dogs can be very helpful in searches if they are well-trained and reliable with a professional handler. When it comes to recovering a child, locating them as quickly as possible is key because typically the probabilities of survival rates decrease with time,” said Dr. Lisa Briggs, a member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Team Adam.
2) Dog Protects Missing Toddler
When a two-year-old boy went missing from his grandfather’s house in York, South Carolina—he was lucky to have the family’s border collie, Ashapoo by his side. After four-and-a-half hours of searching, police officers, neighbors, family, and friends were all relieved to see Ashapoo running towards them, barking, and leading them into a nearby barn to find the little boy curled up asleep on the ground inside. After finding him, the boy’s father said, “I believe the dog was his guardian angel in fur.”
3) Police Dog Helps Find Missing Boy
A missing eight-year old boy who was hiding in the tall grass outside of Olathe City, Kansas after being late for his school bus was found safe when a police officer and his K9, Draco, located the boy’s scent. Draco helped close the case in only 30 minutes after being brought in at the end of the six-hour search.
4) Max, a 17-Year-Old Hero Dog Finds Missing Toddler
A family’s distress was turned to relief when their three-year-old girl was found safe after going missing for 15 hours. She was found after her dog, Max, led her through the woods towards the search party’s lights. The little girl slept the whole night with the dog, who was partially blind and deaf, saying “I had a good sleep granny.” Max is now an honorary police dog.
5) Missing Six-Year-Old Boy Safe with Guard Puppy
A six-year-old boy was found safe with his black-and-white terrier puppy who was guarding him the whole time he was missing. The entire Top of the World Community in Ocala County, Florida came together and organized search parties to help find the little boy. Community members said that it was emotionally draining to search for a six-year-old who reminded them of their own children and grandchildren.
6) Police K9 Finds Missing Three-Year-Old in Less Than 10 Minutes
A three-year-old was reported missing in Sidney, Ohio after having been gone for 45 minutes from his front yard. Within 10 minutes, a police K9 named Bandit helped find the boy and bring him home safely. Time is always of the essence when searching for a missing child, making K9 heroes with their gifted noses invaluable to helping recover missing children quickly and safely.
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At NCMEC we’re always grateful to any person—or animal—on any number of legs—that helps in the recovery of a missing child. Service animals and police K9s have a long history as heroes and companions for children and we’re always so glad to hear a heart-warming story about our furry friends and their wonderful people.
To read more stories of safe recoveries and happy reunions, be sure to check our blog and social media regularly. At NCMEC we #NeverStop helping protect kids, no matter what.