A State Patrol helicopter picked up the heat signature of a dog and her puppy, which led the pilot to the missing boy

By Kelli Bender
October 11, 2017 02:36 PM
Andy Goheen/EyeEm/Getty

Days after a loyal canine kept a missing toddler company, another hero dog has stepped forward to help an innocent child.

Last week, a curious 2-year-old wandered away from his Minnesota home, where he was playing with his family, and went missing, reports The Star Tribune. His relatives spent 30 minutes searching for the boy and the two family dogs he disappeared with, but turned up nothing. With darkness setting in, the family reached out to authorities.

The community banded together instantly with the sheriff’s office, the fire department, two police bloodhounds and 200 volunteers joining in on the search. Also included in the search party was a State Patrol helicopter equipped with a heat-seeking device designed to locate people in the dark.

But it wasn’t a human the helicopter picked up first, it was a dog. After a member of the search party heard barking, the helicopter flew over the area and quickly picked up the heat signature of the family’s English Springer Spaniel, Bella Grace, and her 12-week-old pup. By following the toddler’s two loyal friends, the pilot quickly located the boy, a quarter-mile away from home, and kept their sights on the child until rescuers arrived.

Stearns County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Vic Weiss said the movement of the dogs, who must have followed the toddler as he wandered off, played a big role in the boy’s safe return.

“The dog was in preservation and protection mode,” Weiss said.

After their adventure, the toddler and his two furry friends all returned home safely, albeit a little cold and hungry.