Clover, SC – It happens all the time. You turn your back for one second, and, poof, your kid is gone. For most parents, the moment of panic lasts about 30 seconds until you spot your little one running toward the swings at the park or down the grocery store aisle.
But for Peyton Myrick’s mom, the agony of not knowing where her son was lasted four long hours.
It could have been a lot worse, if not for a dog named Ashepoo.
Ernest Myrick had planned to take his 2-year-old grandson, Peyton, on a tractor ride around his wooded property in search of the perfect Christmas tree. But as grandpa turned to ready the tractor, Peyton slipped off into the woods and was nowhere to be found.
Neither was the family pet, an Australian sheep dog named Ashepoo.
Carmen Myrick, Peyton’s mother, assumed the worst.
“You just never think that’s going to happen to you, and it’s scary,” she said.
Peyton’s father was immediately called, and he rushed home from a pediatric appointment where he was with Peyton’s younger brother. The grandfather combed the property with his tractor while the family called for outside help.
Soon, over 400 volunteers and officials were looking for the missing boy. The search even included a helicopter. “Department of Natural Resources officers, sheriff’s deputies, police dogs, and countless friends and neighbors,” WSOC reported. The group searched the woods near the grandparents home for any sign of the boy. None were found.
Peyton’s mother remembers the agony of that day. “And as the night went on, four hours later, it’s cold, dark,” Carmen Myrick recounted. “I thought to myself ‘this is not going to end good.’ ”
The whole time the search was on, Ashepoo remained missing.
At approximately 8:30 pm, four hours after the toddler wandered off, authorities received reports of a black and white dog in the area. The Myricks knew it was Ashepoo. They hoped that Peyton was nearby.
The dog reportedly “emerged from the woods as rescuers approached” and led them to the boy. He was in a forested area about a quarter mile from the house.
Peyton was found asleep on top of a wadded-up jacket. Ashepoo had stayed with him the entire time.
The toddler was taken to a pediatrician, but no injuries were found.
“Ash was his guardian angel in fur,” Peyton’s father, Rich, told WCNC.
Julie Ryan Evans of The Stir writes, “I hope Ashapoo got a very big bone.”