We rely on our dogs to be our best friends, comfort us, give us a daily dose of cuteness, and to be our companions.
But some also rely on their dogs for bigger jobs.
Some dogs are used for security, to help the disabled, and to serve in law enforcement.
One Florida family’s dogs didn’t have any of those jobs.
But they still made sure to guard and protect their 3-year-old autistic son Marshal Butler who went missing just the same.
The dogs didn’t leave Marshal’s side when he wandered off a mile away from his house.
Marshal’s family went into full panic mode when they discovered that he was missing on the morning of June 3.
“We were panicked,” Kayla Stewart, Butler’s aunt, told WJHG 7. “All sorts of worst-case scenarios are running through their heads.”
But in addition to their son being gone, so were their two dogs Nala and Buckwheat.
The family contacted the police who put out an alert on social media asking people to keep an eye out for the boy.
“Walton County Sheriff’s Office is in the area of Morrison Springs Road in Ponce De Leon searching for a missing 3-year-old boy with autism,” the post read.
“The child was last seen wearing only a diaper. There was approximately an hour time gap between when the child was last seen and when our agency was called. Walton Correctional Institution has been asked to bring their K9 Teams to assist. If you locate this child please notify the Walton County Sheriff’s Office by calling (850)-892-8111 or call 911.”
The police department, along with family members and neighbors, started a search party and split up to find the boy.
“Our expectations going into a search of that magnitude are always to get as many agency members on the ground as possible to aid in the search,” Corey Dobridnia, the Public Information Officer at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, told Bored Panda. “Minutes are precious when it comes to the search of a child.”
Goooooooooooood morning, Walton County. Be safe on your morning commute. Traffic is heavy out there and we’re…
This search went on for several hours and included members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“Through the whole process you’re terrified,” said Stewart.
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm the tragic death of Officer Julian Keen. Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time.- June 14, 2020
Thankfully after a few hours, the boy was found safe by neighbor Carol Shelton.
“Both of his dogs were right there with him,” Shelton said. “[We’re] thankful that the pups kind of guided him along, I guess they kept him safe.”
A safe return home.The dog was found still with the child. ♥️Scene cleared.
Though the toddler was found more than a mile from their home near a river, he didn’t have any injuries.
He was just a little dirty from playing in the dirt which his parents said he’s very fond of doing.
“Marshal was in good spirits when found. A little dirty from the walk through the woods, but unharmed and happy,” Dobridnia said.
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“Dogs are loyal creatures. I feel like they probably knew to stay with him when they saw he was alone. Their instincts kicked in. They stayed with the boy and watched over him until he was located.”
Mom said the dogs were “doing their job” and is glad they didn’t leave her son’s side.
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