October 18, 2012 10:50 PM

When 10-year-old Kyle Camp disappeared from his home in Hackleburg, Ala., he took four very special companions with him: his dogs.

And it was those furry friends who ultimately helped lead volunteers to his location.

More than 18 hours passed between the time Camp, who has Down syndrome, went missing in the woods Tuesday and was back home safe and sound Wednesday morning.

“I heard the dogs barking again and followed him down there and started hollering for the puppies,” Jamie Swinney, one of the two searchers who found Kyle at about 9:30 a.m., told the local Fox affiliate. “I hollered for him and he hollered back.”

Swinney was one of hundreds of people, many of them strangers, who volunteered to search for the boy during a rescue effort that lasted through the night until he was located about a half a mile from home. Camp was wet and barefoot; officials think his puppies helped him stay warm.

“When I found him, I asked if he was all right, and he said, ‘Yeah,’” the volunteer recalls. “He said he just wanted to go home.”

Camp, whose story resembles a similar missing-persons case from Australia earlier this month, was treated for minor scrapes and bruises.

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