Dogs save Missouri boy, 6, from freezing to death

Ryle Smith, saved by a boy’s best friend. Family photo.

Ryle Smith, 6, of Seneca, Missouri, has his family dogs to thank for saving his life Friday night after Ryle got lost in the woods.

Ryle’s parents, Ryan and Holly Smith, called police at around 5 P.M. CST Friday night after Ryle failed to come back inside after playing in the backyard. Police say the boy wandered in to the woods, got disoriented and subsequently lost. With temperatures dipping into the low 20s that evening, rescuers say that if it weren’t for the help of Ryle’s dogs, Bella and Baxter, Ryle may have been in serious danger.

The family just got Bella, a Labrador mix, over Christmas while Baxter, a Boxer, has been with the family over 10 years.

Rescue teams searched the woods for Ryle and finally found him four hours later at 10 P.M., huddled in a ditch with his furry friends lying on top of him, keeping him warm.

Ryle told the Joplin Globe, “I wasn’t scared, I was just really cold. Bella was my guard dog and Baxter was next to me the whole time.”

Ryle was taken to the hospital and treated for minor cuts. Rescue crews say that Ryle was found with no shoes on and rips in his clothing from battling the woods.

Ryle’s relieved father explained, “When we got to him at the ambulance, he was wrapped up like a mummy. I hugged him and told him I loved him. I was just glad to have my son back.”

Mr. Smith also expressed gratitude for the rescuers who went in to immediate action and found Ryle before it was too late.