On Monday, Courtney and Brock Urness discovered that their three-year-old son, Carson, was missing from their 2,000-acre farm in Cooperstown, North Dakota. They called 911. Fire departments and the North Dakota State Highway Patrol responded, kicking off a six-hour search effort made up of 200 people and utilizing everything they could get their hands on: bloodhounds, horses, ATVs and even an airplane. They found nothing.
But Courtney held out hope. Her dog, Cooper, was gone as well. To her, that was the best sign of all.
“You think of the worst, but then I knew Cooper was gone. If anyone was going to find him, they’d just have to find Cooper,” she told WDAY TV.
Cooper had lived with the Urness family since he was a puppy, after he was abandoned on the road to fend for himself. Courtney took him in, and he’s been the farm dog ever since.
After six hours, though, with the search having produced nothing, the sheriff made the call to start sending people home.
“As the night went on, there got to be a little more moisture in the air, and at about 2 o’clock in the morning the rain was coming down, and we were at the point to send the footwalkers home. There was nothing more for them to do,” Griggs County Sheriff Robert Hook told KVLY.
One ATV searching group remained, searching an area about a mile from the family’s home. A volunteer reached the top of a knoll and spotted something. He shined his flashlight. A dog stood up.
“Pat [the volunteer] went over the hill and shot his headlights, and Cooper stood up just enough to let him know he was there,” Courtney said.
Then Cooper went back down on top of the boy, and that’s how the searcher found them: Carson, dry and warm, face down, underneath the dog. He was sleeping.
An ATV quickly brought the pair to the family’s home.
“Somebody came and knocked on the door and said we found them and I just ran to the ambulance,” Courtney told WDAY TV.
Carson’s worst issue? Chilled feet. Otherwise he is fine. He later told his mother, “Mom, I was really scared, but Cooper laid on me. He kept me warm.”
“I was really proud of him,” said Brock Urness.
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