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Toddler's best friend: Family dog locates, stays with missing 2-year-old Minn. boy until authorities arrive

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Courtesy / Minnesota State Patrol2 / 2

STEARNS COUNTY, Minn.—A 2-year-old Minnesota boy has been found safe after the family's dog played a key role in assisting authorities with the search.

The 2-year-old went missing on Thursday evening, Oct. 5, after wandering off from the farmyard he and his siblings were playing in near Richmond, Minn. According to a release from the Stearns County Sheriff's Department, the boy's grandmother came outside to check on this kids and could not find the boy. The family searched the farmyard for about 30 minutes before contacting the Sheriff's Office about 6:17 p.m., the release said.

An initial search of the general area by a local deputy yielded no results, according to the release. Multiple K-9 officers were then called out to the area, including two bloodhounds certified in searching for lost people, the release said. Those searches also turned up empty.

After search efforts on the ground provided no leads, the Sheriff's Office turned to an aerial effort.

A State Patrol helicopter arrived on scene at about 8:10 p.m., the release said. A State Patrol pilot located the boy and his dog about 9:30 p.m. using the helicopter's camera that picks up on heat signatures. The pilot then directed ground searchers to the boy's location, where they found him and his dog safe.

The boy was reunited with his mother and underwent precautionary medical evaluations. The boy was in good condition, but was a bit cold and hungry, the release said.

Following the rescue, officials learned the family dog found the boy and stayed with him until help arrived.

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