Family Dog Protects Missing Child Until Found - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Family Dog Protects Missing Child Until Found

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A three-year-old boy is home safe after a seven-hour search and a happy ending. When rescuers had nearly given up, the family pet held on.

Carson Urness and his golden retriever/german shepherd mix went missing from the Cooperstown, North Dakota family farm around 7:30 Monday night. Between a three-year-old boy and a three-year-old dog, Carson's mom, Courtney, rarely hears silence on the farm. But, it was a silence so awful she had to call for help.

Courtney says about 200 people showed up from surrounding areas more than 20 miles away to help with the search for Carson and Cooper, the dog.

"ATVs, horses, and more footwalkers showed up," Sheriff Robert Hook said of the volunteers from nearby law enforcement. "Even the neighbors, business owners and bankers. They just came out and thought they needed to help."

Combing about 2,000 acres of land, aircraft scanned overhead, horses took to the pastures, but there was no sign of the boy and the dog.
"As the night went on, there got to be a little more moisture in the air and at about 2:00 in the morning the rain was coming down and we were at the point to send the footwalkers home. There was nothing more for them to do," Hook said.

Parents, Courtney and Brock, were heartbroken at the thought of calling the search off. Right as search crews thought they were about to give up, they found out someone else wasn't going to.

"Pat (one volunteer) went over the hill and shot his headlights and Cooper stood up just enough to let him know he was there," Courtney said with tears in her eyes. 

A mile from home, Cooper refused to leave Carson's side. While hundreds searched for them, Carson lay underneath his dog, as Cooper kept the boy dry and warm.

An ATV picked Carson up and Cooper followed the machine all the way back to the house.

"The dog and him are buddies," Hook said. "They got themselves in a little bit of trouble last night."

Turns out, silence is what Courtney is left with-- unable to describe the love that saved her son.

"If they would have called it off and couldn't find him last night," she said. "Cooper would have at least kept him warm."

Carson had torn jeans, a ripped jacket and muddy shoes and socks. Miraculously, though, he went unscathed from the whole ordeal. A doctor told his family he just had cold feet, thanks to his buddy who kept him warm.

Carson's parents believe he must have wandered after some farm equipment while playing outside with the dog.


A family dog was found protecting a missing child in Griggs County early this morning.

The child, Carson Urness, and family dog "Cooper" had gone missing Monday evening, and after an hour of searching on their own, the family, Brock and Courtney Urness contacted the Griggs County Sheriff's Department around 8:30 PM. The Cooperstown Fire Department, Cooperstown Ambulance and Binford Fire Department were also sent to the scene to assist.

Authorities arrived on scene and started to search on foot picking up where the family left off and with the use of ATV’s and riders on horseback, started to expand the search around the farmstead. Within minutes of the call going out, more ATV’s, Horses and Volunteers were pouring in. As the search continued, the North Dakota Highway Patrol was requested to assist and they brought in a Bloodhound Search Dog and the Highway Patrol Airplane was on site doing grid patterns using its “FLIR” device in an attempt to locate the child and dog. Search efforts continued on for approximately 5-6 hours with the aircraft on site flying for 4 hours.

As the threat of rain became a major concern around 2:00 am, the decision was made by the team leaders to start sending the foot walkers home before the rain started to increase. It was decided after a discussion with the ATV riders and family to check a few more areas.

Within minutes, the first ATV from the search parties came speeding back into the farm yard yelling “We Found Him”. A Cooperstown Fireman was riding an ATV approximately a mile southeast of the farm with his search group and came to stop on a knoll. As he looked forward into the area lit up by his headlight, the family dog stood up and he could see the 3 year old boy lying face down on the ground.

The Fireman said the dog was lying on top of the child shielding him from the cold and rain and thought the child may have been sleeping. The Fireman called Carson’s name and on the second try the child turned and got up. The 3 year old was hauled back to the farm and reunited with his family and taken to the Cooperstown Medical Center to get checked out and was released shortly after.
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