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World's Best Dog Protects Missing Toddler During Family's Frantic Search

Family dog protects missing toddler while family searches

A Cooperstown, N.D., family is breathing a sigh of relief this week after their missing toddler turned up safe and sound — thanks to the family dog.

It was around 7:30 Monday night when little Carson Urness and his Golden Retriever/German Shepherd pup Cooper — both three years old — ventured off from the family farm. His mom, Courtney, had her back turned at the time, but noticed the two were missing when the usually boisterous duo could no longer be heard from the yard. Panic set in, and she immediately called the cops.

It wasn't long before news of the missing toddler and his dog swept the small town, and a crowd of 200 showed up to help with the search. "ATVs, horses and more foot walkers showed up," Sheriff Robert Hook later told Valley News Live. "Even the neighbors, business owners and bankers. They just came out and thought they needed to help."

Together, they combed 2,000 acres of land, on foot and by air. But by 2 a.m., many of the searchers were set back by the darkness and onset of rain. Hook says they were sent home, since "there was nothing more for them to do."

Courtney and Carson's father, Brock, were both understandably shattered at the thought that as searchers headed home, the odds of finding their son that night were growing slimmer. But that's when something amazing happened.

As Courtney later recalled, a volunteer drove his car to the top of a nearby hill and turned his headlights on, to get a better look at what was below. That's when Cooper the dog popped his head up "just enough to let him know he was there," Courtney said.

Amazingly, the pair had been found, a mile away from home. And it gets even better: Cooper had apparently been covering little Carson as he lay, keeping him dry and warm despite the night's rain.

Mom Courtney was nearly speechless about the whole thing, but later told reporters she is comforted by the fact that Cooper would have done all he could to keep her son safe. "If they would have called it off and couldn't find him last night, Cooper would have at least kept him warm."

Carson was found with torn jeans, a ripped jacket and muddy shoes and socks, but otherwise, he was completely unscathed. Thanks, of course, to Cooper, who goes down in history as one of the most loyal dogs ever.

(Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks)

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