Missing Aussie Toddler Found, German Shepherd Never Left His Side

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By Arlene Paredes | November 7, 2012 6:37 PM EST

A dog is a missing toddler's best friend.

An Australian toddler, who was reported missing, has been found by police after over 13 hours. The young boy's pet dog had called out for attention during a police search.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Dante Berry wandered away from home. Dante and his pet dog were last seen at their house at about 8:30pm Tuesday. Authorities promptly began their search after receiving a missing report.

Little Dante was found about 10am Wednesday near a gliding club in Whitecliffs Ave, Mildura. The spot was metres off a dirt track.

Police had initially spotted a discarded nappy around 8:30 am, and suspected they were on the young boy's path.  Dante may have been irritated by his dirty nappy and decided to remove it. The paw prints may have been left by his pet dog Dasher, a German Shepherd.

Sen-Constable Carol Rigby told the Herald Sun she and Leading Sen-Constable Greg Lee were about to change direction when they heard a crying child.

"The last time we saw footprints was some way back but we asked ourselves: what if we just go around the next corner?" Sen-Constable Rigby told the Sun. Dasher had leaped out at this point, and the dog led them to the crying toddler.

The young boy was wearing only a long-sleeved top when he was found.

"He had very grubby feet and legs," Sen-Constable Rigby said, noting that Dante looked "stunned and amazed" upon seeing them.

The police officer also said Dante was "in a good condition" despite the dirt on his feet and legs. She also observed foot and paw prints on the path suggest Dante and Dasher "had been walking side by side the whole time."

Bianca Chapman, Dante's mother was very much relieved to see her son again. The Sun reported Grandfather Percy Chapman embraced Dasher for not leaving his grandson.

The Chapmans had released a statement to express their gratitude to the police and their community:

"We would like to express our thanks to the police, SES, CFA, members of the community and everyone involved in the search for Dante. We are extremely relieved that he has been located safe and appears to be happy. We were happy, but not surprised, to learn that his faithful dog, Dasher, stayed by his side and was also found safe and well."

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