A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare.
Parents are supposed to know where their kids are at all times and protect them from danger. Sometimes, kids can wander off on their own, leaving parents a nervous wreck and police officers puzzled.
That’s exactly what happened to 6-year-old Kaydon Leach.
He disappeared in Blount County, Tennessee, with his dog, Chula, last week. His parents called the police when they realized he was missing, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Endangered Child Alert after search parties were unable to find him.
More than 100 first responders searched the boy all night and in heavy rain. They feared that the boy would be scared, caught a cold and possibly even injured. Every minute mattered, and the longer they went without finding him, the worse their chances were of finding him at all.
Finally, they found Kaydon and Chula the next morning.
They were about a mile from home. The family was relieved and happy to know that her baby boy and dog were safe. They thanked the police officers, firefighters, and first responders, but they insist that Chula was also a hero.
When the boy was found, the dog was staying close to his side, protecting him. He wouldn’t even let the rescuers close at first. Blount County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jeff French said:
“The dog actually growled at the rescuers when they approached Kaydon.”
They say that the dog helped keep Kaydon warm and safe throughout the night.
The boy was probably scared, but the dog stayed by his side and was clearly there to protect him. First responders could not believe what they saw. They also say that the dog helped them find the boy.
Blount County fireman Aaron Woods said:
“I keep saying he popped up. To me, he did, because I had just looked over there. What I got to him, the dog was kinda giving me a little growl, like, ‘Who are you?’”
The rescuers were happy to have found the boy and his dog.
They were worried that they might not find him at all, and if they did, the outcome might not be good. To find him alive and well was a huge relief for them and Kaydon’s family.
“I was grinning from ear to ear. Even afterward, after we got down to our debriefing and all the way home. I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in my life, in my career, and this is the good stuff. This is the good stuff.”
His parents aren’t sure how Kaydon managed to wander off so fast, but they are thankful to have him back.
Kaydon and Chula have always been good friends, but they did not expect the dog to be so loyal or help save their son. They released a statement, saying:
“We’re so thankful to everyone, from local law enforcement agencies to volunteers, who helped us find Kaydon. The amount of support we have received has been tremendous, even from people we don’t even know. We appreciate all our friends and neighbors, and ask for privacy at this time.”