The spirit of Lassie is alive and well in a dog named Ashapoo. The trusty canine was always at the side of his owner's two-year-old grandson, Peyton.
And that was a good thing when Peyton's grandfather turned his back for a minute as he was planning to take the boy on a trip on the family land in Clover, South Carolina, to find a Christmas tree.
When he turned around, the energetic kid was gone. But so was Ashapoo.
By the time Peyton's parents showed up to join the hunt for their missing son on the 300 acres of woods, they took solace knowing the boy was with his faithful friend.
Said dad Rich Myrick to local station WBTV, "In the back of your mind, you know the dog is going to be with him."
Still, four and a half hours of a missing child takes a lot of faith. It was getting dark and cold. Mom Carmen Myrick noted to WCNC that she took in the hundreds of volunteers, ambulances, the media, and police cars. She says she remembers thinking, "'This is not going to end good.'"
When rescuers made their way to a barn, Ashapoo suddenly appeared, then ran away barking, leading searchers to a sleeping Peyton on the ground. He was fine.
The two-year-old told his family he was scared, he was going to get hurt, and he was cold. Dad Rich said, "I think he got scared and just lay down and took a nap, and Ashapoo stayed right with him." He added, "I guess he felt that was his job to protect him and be with him." And he also said, "I believe the dog was his guardian angel in fur."
The parents said that the dog was their hero. They plan to get him a well earned steak, and they are also looking into a GPS tracker for Peyton.