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Family dog follows 3-year-old who wandered into the woods, ‘protected’ child from deputies

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A loyal family dog is credited with keeping a lost 3 year old safe in the woods of northern Florida on Tuesday — even to the point of confronting strangers who tried approaching the boy, deputies say.

The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office did not identify the family involved, but said it was clear their dog, Buddy, was intentional in keeping the boy from being harmed, according to a Facebook post.

“Earlier this afternoon the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office … received a 911 call from a frantic mother whose 3-year-old son was playing outside with his siblings and wandered away,” the department wrote.

“The mother told the Dispatcher that the family’s dog, Buddy, was also missing, and presumed to be with the child.”

Deputies launched a search of the area, assisted by K9 units from Suwannee Correctional Institution, the release said.

“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,” the department posted.

The department did not say how rescuers were able to get near the boy. But photos shared on Facebook show the child in the arms of a deputy — and the brave dog on a leash, looking satisfied that he’d done his job.

“Fortunately, we were able to reunite the child with his mother, thanks in part to ‘man’s best friend’ and an alert neighbor,” the department wrote.

The department’s Facebook post has been shared more than 46,000 times in the past day, and gotten more than 5,200 comments, including many people who called the dog a “hero.”

Some lauded Buddy as an example of pit bull loyalty, though police did not give a breed.

“He is definitely struttin’ home,” Peggy Smith wrote of the dog bouncing alongside deputies. “What a great dog. Exactly what pitties do.”

“Pretty sure that dog would’ve died trying to save that child’s life. I’m glad they were found,” Nicci Allard wrote.

“That pup needs the dog of the year award. And anything he wants. Spa day for him,” Peggy Sweat said.

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