Morning turned into an early nightmare for a family in Ponce de Leon, Florida when Marshal Butler, an autistic 3-year-old toddler went missing.
The entire family was in total shock!
It was a Wednesday morning, June 04, 2020, when Butler was nowhere to be found in the entire household.
“We were panicked,” Kayla Stewart, Butler’s aunt, told WJHG/WECP “all sorts of worst case scenarios are running through their heads.”
The fright started to build. Not only is the toddler autistic, but he also can’t speak or communicate in any way.
The only thing lifting their spirits was that Butler vanished with their two loyal family dogs; Nala and Buckwheat.
And the search for the missing toddler was on!
Even though the child was with his dogs, it didn’t change the frightening fact that he was still missing. They knew that they needed to act fast because things might get worse at any minute.
So, law enforcement from Walton County, Holmes County, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission performed hours of diligent searching together with the child’s family and their concerned neighbors.
“The child was last seen wearing only a diaper. There was approximately an hour time gap between when the child was last seen and when our agency was called. Walton Correctional Institution has been asked to bring their K9 Teams to assist.” the Sheriff wrote in a Facebook post.
Thankfully, later that afternoon, with all the help and prayers that the family received, Butler was finally located. He was found dirty but safe by one of their neighbors, Carol Shelton.
Nala and Buckwheat were seen escorting the toddler about a mile from their house.
“Both of his dogs were right there with him… [We’re] thankful that the pups kind of guided him along I guess they kept him safe,” Shelton said.
Everyone was glad that the missing child was finally back, safe and sound.
Butler’s family couldn’t be happier. They definitely learned from this tragic experience and will surely keep a much sharper eye on their little boy.
Of course, they were thankful to their neighbors, all the officers, and especially to Nala and Buckwheat for not leaving their little human’s side.
“They’re doing their job,” Butler’s mom said (referring to the dogs.)
It looks like Butler and his saviors Nala and Buckwheat are not the only ones who have this kind of story.
February of this year, a 3-year-old kid also went missing in Suwannee County, Florida. According to the kid’s mother, he was just playing outside with his siblings but eventually wandered away from home by himself.
Thankfully, he was found after hours of searching. All thanks to a concerned neighbor who reported it to the police, they were able to reunite the kid with his mom.
“A short while later, a nearby neighbor called 911 and stated that he located a small child and dog in the woods, but the dog wouldn’t let him get near the child. Fortunately, we were able to reunite the child with his mother, thanks in part to “man’s best friend” and an alert neighbor,” the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office wrote on a Facebook post.
These stories prove dogs are not only “man’s best friend,” but they can also be “man’s savior.”
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