Dog helped protect missing 2-year-old

Published: Nov. 29, 2012 at 1:23 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2012 at 1:20 AM EST
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YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - After nearly five hours, searchers found a missing two-year-old and his loyal dog Wednesday.

The York County Sheriff's Office, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and neighbors went hunting for the boy after he disappeared with the dog from his grandparent's yard.

The boy's grandfather told police two-year-old Peyton was playing outside with the dog, a black and white Australian Shepherd, Ashepoo, when he disappeared.

Peyton was last seen in the yard of the home on Saint Paul Church Road at about 4:15 Wednesday evening. A neighbor spotted the dog near a barn about 1/2 mile from the grandfather's home. Searchers found Peyton in the woods behind the barn asleep on his jacket.

Family members told WBTV on Thursday they believe the boy might not have been found if it weren't for Ashepoo. "She's a guardian angel in fur," said Rich Myrick, Peyton's father.

"The temperatures are really dropping and we were getting real concerned, but we just prayed that the little fella would keep going and finally show up," said Sheriff Bruce Bryant.

Paramedics examined the boy to make sure he was not hurt or suffering from exposure.

Peyton's parents Rich and Carmen Myrick said they are eternally grateful to the hundreds of volunteers, Sheriff's deputies, firefighters, and medics who showed up to help search for the missing boy.

They're also giving a lot of praise to the dog now called a hero.

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