Happy Dog Stories and Confessions of a Junior Warden

Periodically, I’ll see a news story about a dog that saving a child or person, and I am immediately drawn to the newspaper or television. Having always been a dog enthusiast, it is nice to break-up the usual headlines of murder and mayhem with a happy pooch report.

This dog story was from a few months ago in December:

A toddler lost in the Virginia woods was back home safe Sunday thanks to two puppies who kept him warm through a harrowing night of freezing temperatures.

Jaylynn Thorpe, 3, wandered away from his baby-sitter at 4 p.m. Friday and was missing for 21 hours as hundreds of friends, family and law enforcement officials searched for him in the thick woods of Halifax County, fearing the worst.

"The only thing we wanted to do was just keep searching until we found him," Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin told reporters.

Jaylynn's frantic family knew time was not on its side.

"We didn't forget the issue that 17 degrees was almost unbearable," said his father, James Thorpe.

"People all over the State of Virginia was down there looking for that child. For a while there, one time, I didn't know whether they would find him or not," said the child's grandmother and guardian, Katherine Elliot.

Officials said the lost little boy and the two family puppies wandered up to a mile in the dark, even across a highway, but it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that members of the search team found him sitting by a tree, the two puppies nestled against him.

The little boy didn't say anything, according to rescue team member Jerry Gentry, but instead "just opened his arms up like, 'I'm ready to go.'"

"When I first saw him, he was like, 'Momma, I got cold. I slept in the woods last night. The puppies kept me warm.' He told me that ... the dogs slept up against him. And I'm sure the body heat kept him warm," said his mother, Sarah Ingram.
Last year, our Houdini-like escape artist youngest son managed to break-out of our home detention facility and enjoy an eight-minute free run of the neighborhood. Even in his sock feet, he avoided the snow piles and was nabbed about a block away by an alert neighbor—the child was heard laughing loudly during the incident.

Realizing that he was gone and then looking for him was one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. I certainly feel for parents who go throw similar situations.

The warden of our facility (aka the Mrs. as I am in the Junior Warden) was not amused by little one’s escape, and I was repeatedly scolded and nearly sentenced to home-confinement and probation. All of this was deserving of course, and I took my public shaming with grace.

I have to admit that the little runner’s timing was impeccable as several stars aligned for his successful escape out the front door (noise initially explained as expected company, front door was unlocked, expected visitor liked to sneak-up on the other kids, me fixing something, other kids playing in another room and did not notice, etc.).

Too bad our family dog has passed away a few months before or perhaps she would have alerted me instantly to the little one’s escape.

Twelve months later, the same Houdini kid no longer waits for the front door to exit (child knobs help deter this as well), as he has scaled and jumped the four foot high back fence and took off sprinting to freedom twice now on the warden Mrs.—-all before his third birthday. Happy Mother’s Day, right?

Sometimes this parenting thing represents a bit of a challenge…


mappchik said...

Flashbacks to the day we learned younger boy was tall enough to reach the gate latch... it's a funny story now, but for me there's still the ghost of panic.

As for your son, when is too early to start training for olympic track & field? Hurdles sound right up his alley.

Mad Jack said...

One fine afternoon I was talking to my good buddy, the Poor But Honest Gun Trader of South Dakota, Commander Cody. It was a slow day at the gun store and I was wondering about breaking a few clays Saturday.

"What are you up to this weekend Cody?"

"Buildin' fence."

"What kind of fence?"

"Grand Kid fence."

And so next Monday I asked about the fence. It seems that the neighbors have a swimming pool and the youngest grand kid always makes a bee line for their pool, intent on relieving the heat. Grand Maw wasn't always quick enough to nail him before he jumped in, and was tired of chasing him. And the new fence?

"Aw, he went over it like it wasn't even there."

Slamdunk said...

MC: Yes I should look into that.

Another fav trick of his is to climb on top of the roof of the kids playhouse that we have in the backyard and sit at the highest point of it. He all we need is a little yellow bird for him and he can be Snoopy.

MJ: Funny stuff. I should look into constantino wire for the top of the fence, but that might not go over so well with child welfare officials.

mrs. fuzz said...

I was at a friend's house once when my then 5 year old went missing. This friend lives on a corner house right off of a major street in the city. There's a bus stop, a lot of homeless people that wander by, lots of traffic, etc. We were running around screaming her name, running down the streets, checking cars, and then right before we called police she emerged from the minivan, saying she was playing hide and seek. She heard us freaking out, but was loving that we couldn't find her. You're right. There isn't a worse feeling than that. I was imagining all the horrible possibilities.

LOVE dogs too. They really are man's best friend. We grew up with a basset hound from the time I was 4 until I was 16. I just recently watched Marley and Me, and thought it was pretty cute. Our basset died the same way, so it brought back some memories and some tears.

Oz Girl said...

I remember reading about that story of the little one being kept warm by the two puppies, and like you, was warmed by it. I love happy stories! :)

Glad you've caught your little one when he has escaped... hope he, um, grows out of his desire to run away?! :-0