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Nov 30, 2012 12:47 PM by NBC News

Family pet leads rescuers to missing toddler

(WCNC) It is hard keeping up with a 2-year-old, especially one as precocious as Peyton Myrick.

"When he turned two he would just take off," said mom Carmen Myrick.

But his grandpa's dog, "Ashapoo," is almost always nipping at the little boy's heels. And, as it turns out, it's a good thing.

"I was just shell shocked," Myrick said of hearing the news that Peyton had disappeared.

His grandpa says he turned his back for a minute as the two were preparing to search the family land in Clover, South Carolina for a Christmas tree Wednesday.

"You just never think that's going to happen to you, and it's scary. And as the night went on, four hours later, it's cold, dark. I thought to myself 'this is not going to end good.'"

Hundreds of volunteers quickly showed up to help searched the 300 acres of woods that surround the family home.

Peyton's dad, Rich, clearly remembers the moment he realized things might turn out OK.

"All of a sudden somebody said, 'Is it a black and white dog?' And everybody was like, 'Yes.' I kept thinking, 'I'm not going to get my hopes up.' A few minutes later somebody came out and said, 'They've got him, Katherine's got him,' and I just remember screaming his name, taking off and running toward him, and I saw my sister holding him. At that point I knew he was going to be OK," father Rich recalled.

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