A Florida family's two beloved pet dogs are sure to receive some extra treats since making headlines for keeping a toddler safe.
"We were panicked," said the toddler's aunt, Kayla Stewart. "[A]ll sorts of worst case scenarios are running through their heads," Stewart continued, speaking of her nephew's parents.
Family, friends, and neighbors stepped up to lend extra eyes and ears to the effort. "Through the whole process you're terrified," said Stewart.
After an hours-long search effort, it was Marshal's neighbor, Carol Shelton, who found the errant toddler.
Marshal had strayed a mile from his home near a river, wearing nothing but a diaper. However, he had not sustained any physical injuries. The only evidence of his adventure was the fact that he was dirty.
Most importantly, the little boy had been kept safe owing to the company of two very dear friends: the family dogs. The Butler family's pups, Buckwheat and Nala, had stayed by Marshall's side throughout the entire ordeal.
"Thank God he is safe, & I sure hope they fix [the dogs] an awesome dinner tonight," wrote one netizen.
"Thank you! I just want to say y’all are amazing," wrote another. "Keep up the great work and thank you for reaching out so well to the community."
However, Marshal's safe return is not the first time a loyal family dog has kept a missing child safe from harm. On March 25, 2020, another young child that had wandered away from home was found unharmed after two whole days in the woods, accompanied by the family's pet dog.
Authorities searched the remote woodland and creek near the spot from which Vadie went missing, aided by hundreds of volunteers. A member of the search team recalled hearing a dog bark before Vadie's identifying red hair became visible to her rescuers.
"We are beyond happy," said Sheriff Jones.
Allegedly, the family dog ran away when the search party approached but later came home of its own volition.