A team of several hundred people found and returned 3-year-old Mason Ryan to his family after a grueling 9-hour search, but the toddler wasn't discovered alone. It was Banjo, the family's rescued pooch, whose barking alerted rescuers to their location.
Banjo and Mason managed to wander more than a mile from their Virginia home, but the little dog never once left his side. The boy's mother says Mason was headed to his room when instead he exited the house in an effort to follow his dad, who was driving away. She was in another room and found her son missing when she returned.
Blake Ryan, Mason's dad, says it "crushed" him when it grew dark and he couldn't find him.
Banjo's barks eventually drew rescuers to the pair around 3 A.M. the next morning. After a visit to the hospital, Mason was doing just fine except for some scratches along his arms and legs. It's definitely not hard to see how much this kid's little dog loves him.
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This undated photo provided by Crown Media United States, LLC, shows Harley, a 14-year-old Chihuahua owned by Rudi Taylor of Bethoud, Colo. Harley is the winner of this year's American Humane Association Dog of the Year award, and is the oldest, smallest and most challenged. Together four years, Harley and Taylor have spent the last two running “Harley to the Rescue,” raising a half million dollars to save and take medical care of over 500 other puppy mill dogs. As a spokes-dog against commercial breeders, Harley has visited thousands of people of all ages while Taylor described puppy mills.(Crown Media United States, LLC via AP)
This undated photo provided by Chris Church-DiCiccio shows Chara, an 8-year-old Norwegian wolfhound who lives with handler Kristina Church-DiCiccio in Waynesboro, Va. In 2008, Church-DiCiccio developed a neurological condition. She and Chara worked out a way for her to recognize attacks. Two weeks after Church-DiCiccio’s son was born, Chara used her alerting skill to let her know her boy had stopped breathing.(Chris Church-DiCiccio via AP)
This undated photo provided by Crown Media United States, LLC, shows Glory, an 8-year-old bloodhound gumshoe specializing in finding lost pets, with handler Landa Coldiron from the Sun Valley area of Los Angeles, photographed in Beverly Hills, Calif. Trained and certified to track lost pets, she has helped close hundreds of cases. (Jeremy Lee/Alexx Henry Studios LLC/Crown Media United States, LLC via AP)
This undated photo provided by Crown Media United States, LLC, shows Sgt. Rambo, a 7-year-old German shepherd medically retired from the Marine Corps after serving as an explosives detection dog at the Marine base in Cherry Point, N.C. He was never deployed but had his left leg amputated. Lisa Phillips of Converse, Texas, adopted him in 2012 and he became Alamo Honor Flight's mascot, accompanying World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., and serving as the ambassador for the K-9 Members of the Armed Forces.(Chris Valenziano/Crown Media United States, LLC via AP)
This undated photo provided by Crown Media United States, LLC, shows Hudson, a 3-year-old blue nose pit bull, with Richard Nash of Castleton, N.Y. When they were 3 weeks old, Hudson and two sisters were found nailed by their paws to railroad tracks in Albany, N.Y. One of Hudson’s paws was also cut off. Veterinarians saved Hudson and gave himn a prosthetic leg. After they adopted him, Nash and his family knew he was special so they had him trained as a therapy dog to visit schools, hospitals, adult day care and hospice centers.(Chris Valenziano/Crown Media United States, LLC via AP)
This July 6, 2015 photo provided by David Shilale shows Dax, an 8-year-old German shepherd owned by police officer Chris Alberini in Ashland State Park in Ashland, Mass. They have been together six years, working as a K-9 team for the Ashland Police Department. In 2013, Alberini believes Dax saved his life and the lives of some fellow officers as they chased a gunman. I wouldn’t be standing here talking today if it weren’t for him.”(David Shilale via AP)
This undated photo provided by Crown Media United States, LLC, shows Glory, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador and an ignitable liquid detection K-9 who started out as an assistance dog, and is owned by Keith Lynn of Evansville, Wis. Both work for the Beloit, Wis., Fire Department. Glory has two specialties: finding accelerants and identifying firefighters who are having a bad day and spending time with them. “My dog’s a hero because she touches people, she’s very calm and docile, just a ham. She loves everybody."(Chris Valenziano/Crown Media United States, LLC via AP)
This undated photo provided by Crown Media United States, LLC, shows Axel, a 4-year-old German shepherd, with his owner, retired Marine Capt. Jason Haag in Fredericksburg, Va. They have been together three years. Haag was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury after returning from two tours in the Middle East. “He saved my life, no doubt about that. I was at my wit’s end," Haag said. “He helped me get off 30 pills, including 12 narcotics. He helped with panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares. He brought me medicine when I was on those and helped me find my keys and truck because of memory issues.”(Chris Valenziano/Crown Media United States, LLC via AP)