Missing Boy Huddled With Dogs; See Photo Of Six-Year-Old Ryle Smith’s Guardian Angels
A missing boy in Missouri huddled with his family dogs to stay warm while his worried parents and authorities mounted a five-hour search to find him on Tuesday night. Ryle Smith, a six-year-old from Seneca, Mo., wandered off his parents' property on Friday while playing with his beloved dogs Baxter and Bella. Temperatures dropped into the low 20s, and the missing boy wasn't wearing shoes or socks when he followed Bella into the woods near his parents' home. The missing boy huddled with the dogs to stay warm, a move that provided both physical and psychological comfort. (Click here to see a photo of the trio)
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"I wasn't scared, I was just really cold," Ryle told the Jopling Globe. "Bella was my guard dog and Baxter was next to me the whole time."
Ryle went missing around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and his parents reported him missing around 6 p.m. when they realized they hadn't seen him and the sun was going down. They called 911 and quickly organized a search party of around 200 people to aid in the search for Ryle. The party consisted of concerned neighbors as well as profession responders from the Newtown County Sheriff's Office as well as the Joplin, Seneca and Redings Mill fire departments, and the Newtown County Rescue and Recovery team.
"We were real concerned about the weather," Newtown County Sheriff Ken Copeland told ABC News. "It was calling for sleet and snow later that night so we were really concerned.
Ryle's mother told ABC News that it was fortunate the missing boy huddled with his dogs to stay warm, because the temperature and his exposed feet could've turned into a serious medical condition.
"He was wearing no socks or shoes," Ryle's mother Holly told ABC News. "His feet were so cold that it was the early stages of frostbite, he hadn't eaten dinner, he was exhausted and hungry."
Paramedics who found Ryle were the ones who revealed the missing boy huddled with the dogs to keep warm. Although his feet were extremely cold and damaged from the elements, they told Ryle's mother that his upper body was warm to the touch. Baxter is a large Boxer and Bella is a Labrador mix. Labrador's are one of the best dog breeds for children, according to PetMD.com. Boxer breeds are also popular family pets, in part because of the Boxer's reportedly stoic, patient attitude toward children.
Fortunately, Ryle didn't suffer any permanent injuries and is expected to fully recover.
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