Family Dog Credited With Helping Rescuers Find Missing 3-Year-Old Boy

Mason Ryan had been lost in the woods for nine long hours, but Banjo never left his side.

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Mason Ryan and Banjo, the dog who stayed by his side. Via WSLS
Mason Ryan and Banjo, the dog who stayed by his side. Via WSLS

There’s a popular bumper sticker that says “My Rescue Dog Rescued Me,” but for little Mason Ryan, it’s the truth. The 3-year-old Henry County, Virginia, boy spent a harrowing nine hours lost in the woods near his house, but the family dog never left his side.

Mason hasn’t quite been able to explain how he ended up deep in the woods, but his family knows that Banjo stayed with him the entire time and barked at rescuers as they approached.

“[Banjo] brought my son back,” Mason’s father, William Blake Ryan, told WSLS. “He stayed with him through the woods and didn’t let him out of his sight and let the people know where he was.”

Banjo barked to alert rescuers when they got close to little Mason. Via WSLS

Banjo barked to alert rescuers when they got close to little Mason. Via WSLS

Hundreds of volunteers spent hours searching the wooded area; Ryan was eventually found just after 3 a.m. He was taken to a local hospital as a precaution but — other than a few scratches on his arms and legs — was unharmed.

Banjo received a lot of belly rubs for his devotion, but we’re hoping he’ll be getting a juicy steak dinner soon, too.

Blake, 30, and Tammy Renea Stowe, 27, Mason’s mother, have since been arrested for child neglect and possession of marijuana, according to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

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