Missing 3-year-old with autism found safe with loyal dogs who protected him

There’s nothing like the bond between a child and their dog. They can make the best companions, always looking after them… especially when things take a frightening turn.

Time and again we’ve seen stories of children getting lost, only to be found with their pets loyally standing by their side keeping them safe.

That was the case this month for one family, who went through the terrifying ordeal of losing their toddler, only to find he was kept safe by a pack of loyal friends.

Three-year-old Marshal Butler went missing from his home in Ponce de Leon, Florida. That’s a nightmare in any situation, but was especially concerning because Marshal was autistic and unable to communicate.

“We were panicked,” Marshal’s aunt Kayla Stewart told WJHG. “All sorts of worst case scenarios are running through their heads… Through the whole process you’re terrified.”


The Walton County Sheriff’s Department put the word out, encouraging people to keep an eye out for the missing child.

They also said he might be found with his pet dogs, Nala and Buckwheat, who disappeared at the same time.


In a situation like this, there is no time to lose, and the sheriff’s office and neighbors all went and searched for little Marshal.

Thankfully, he was soon discovered later that day by a neighbor named Carol Shelton, who found him about about a mile from home.

And miraculously, he was unharmed. “Marshal was in good spirits when found. A little dirty from the walk through the woods, but unharmed and happy,” Corey Dobridnia, the Public Information Officer at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, told Bored Panda.


But there was another inspiring thing about the scene: both dogs were found with Marshal. They had stayed by his side the whole time, making sure he was safe.

“His dogs were right there with him,” a neighbor recalled.

“Dogs are loyal creatures,” Dobridnia said. “I feel like they probably knew to stay with him when they saw he was alone. Their instincts kicked in. They stayed with the boy and watched over him until he was located.”

The Walton County Sheriff’s office summed up the sentiment with a Facebook comment: “We don’t deserve dogs.”

We’re so glad Marshal was found safe and sound! Thank you to these incredible dogs for looking after him!

Dogs proving their loyalty once again. Share this inspiring story!