Moral Low Ground

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Missing Aussie 2-Year-Old Dante Berry Found Safe and Well with Faithful Dog Dasher by His Side

November 11, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Animal Kingdom, Asia/Pacific with 0 Comments

An Australian toddler who went missing for 13 hours after wandering off into the bush has been found safe and well with his faithful family dog by his side.

The Herald Sun reports that two-year-old Dante Berry has been hospitalized and treated for hypothermia and dehydration after his harrowing nightlong ordeal. Berry, of Mildura, Victoria, some 337 miles (542 km) northwest of Melbourne.

Dante’s parents told reporters that he often wanders away from home. On the night of November 6, he did so again– around 8:30 p.m. they noticed their son was missing, but this time he was nowhere to be found. Scores of local residents joined council staff, police and trackers in mobilizing for an all-night tot hunt.

Dante braved rain, thunderstorms and overnight low temperatures that dropped into the 50s clad only in diaper and a long-sleeve top. That diaper– covered in paw prints– was found the following morning around 1.2 miles (2 km) away in a state forest.

That crucial clue led police to into the forest, where suddenly a German shepherd rushed toward them. It turns out that Dasher, the family dog, had remained faithfully by little Dante’s side through his entire ordeal. Dasher quickly led rescuers to the child, who was found crying, dirty, cold and thirsty but otherwise safe and sound.

“He had very grubby feet and legs, Senior Constable Carol Rigby told the Herald Sun. “I was a bit surprised that he was in as good a condition as he was in.”

“There was a bit of rain overnight and some thunderstorms, which must have been a bit nerve-racking for a child, but he was in pretty good nick considering,” Rigby added.

“You could just imagine what was going through his little mind – lost (and) dark. Lucky he did have his dog to keep him warm overnight,” Department of Sustainability and Environment tracker Will Hannah told the Herald Sun.

Dante and Dasher finally returned home around 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning to a crowd of jubilant residents and rescue workers.

“We would like to express our thanks to the police, SES, CFA, members of the community and everyone involved in the search for Dante. We are extremely relieved that he has been located safe and appears to be happy. We were happy, but not surprised, to learn that his faithful dog, Dasher, stayed by his side and was also found safe and well,” a statement from the boy’s family said.

This is the second time in the past month that a loyal dog has protected a child who wandered away from home. Yahoo! News reports that Kyle Camp, a 10-year-old Alabama boy with Down syndrome, was kept warm in the woods for 18 hours by his four puppies.

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