After a 3-year-old boy disappeared on his 10-acre property in North Dakota, he was found safe and sound seven hours later under the protection of the family’s dog.
ABC News reports Carson Urness was playing outside Monday when his mother went to check on him again at 7:30 p.m. and saw he was gone.
Carson’s father, Brock Urness, said his wife, Courtney, was inside taking care of their 11-month-old daughter while Carson played.
“She looked around frantically for about 30 minutes and then called me,” Urness said. “And I said, ‘Well, where’s Cooper?’ and she said, ‘Cooper is not here either.’”
Cooper is the family’s German Shepherd, Labrador and Golden Retriever mix, adopted by the Urnesses three years ago after being found on the side of a road.
After anxiously searching for an hour, the boy’s parents called 911.
Authorities launched both an aerial and ground search for Carson, utilizing an airplane and 60 four-wheelers. Over 200 members from their community of merely 800 also assisted in the search.
Officials were about to call off the search around 2:30 a.m. when someone on a four-wheeler finally found Carson, according to ABC News.
He was about a mile away from his home, sitting in the middle of a field of tall grass.
“Carson was in tall grass, but when they shone lights down to sweep [the area], the dog stuck his head out,” Urness reported.
Cooper was lying on top of the 3-year-old boy, who was safely nestled underneath, presumably to keep the boy warm in the 40-degree weather.
ABC said both the boy and dog uninjured.
“Carson told his mom that Cooper stayed on top of him and kept him safe and warm,” Urness said. “He told her that he was a little scared when it got dark because he doesn’t like the dark.”
The father believes his son may have wandered after seeing him leave the property on a tractor.
“I think he saw us from his bedroom window leaving and he wanted to go where we were so he walked,” Urness said.
He also said Cooper rarely leaves the family’s yard, but must have followed their son because “they’re best friends.”
The Urnesses told ABC they were very grateful for the law enforcement officials and neighbors who aided in the search.
*ABC News contributed to this report.