It’s easy to see why a dog is man’s best friend

Published 8:48 am Friday, October 19, 2012

Ever since I was a little boy, I have owned a dog. In fact, it is hard for me to remember an extended time in my life when I didn’t own at least one dog. From five pounds to 125 pounds, all shapes and sizes, among them were Ginger, Sparky, Sally, Angel, and, currently, Liberty.

When Judson, my 6-year-old son, was an infant, my big 95-pound black Labrador retriever named Dakota would lay and sleep by his crib for hours. Dakota was his protector and came running to me or my wife, Stephanie, whenever Judson would cry or make noises. She simply knew that he needed care. It has been almost five years since we lost Dakota to pancreatic disease, but a photo of her remains on the side of my refrigerator.

I am a firm believer that a dog is man’s best friend. And a great story from Hackleburg, in northeast Alabama, this week goes a long way in proving truth to that age-old adage.

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Kyle Camp, a 10-year-old boy with Down syndrome, wandered into the woods near his home and was lost for 18 hours. Kyle’s family suspects that he followed the family’s dog and her four puppies into the woods, ended up over a mile away from home, and couldn’t find his way back.

As volunteers searched for Kyle, they heard the mother dog barking, and when the first rescuers saw the family’s dog, it immediately turned around the starting running deeper into woods.

The dog led the rescuer directly to Kyle, and he what he found was pretty remarkable. Four puppies were lying atop and around Kyle, no doubt keeping him warm and comfortable.

While the nighttime temperatures this time of year in Alabama are not brutally cold, I am sure Kyle stood a much better chance of surviving his ordeal with these dogs than he would have without them. And considering he was found shoe-less with his feet dangling in creek water, Kyle was fortunate to be nothing more than hungry and tired.

Kyle is a lucky young man — lucky to have come away from his ordeal unharmed and lucky to have a mama dog and four puppies who obviously love him.