Peyton Myrick, 2 years old, was in the care of his grandfather at his home in South Carolina when he got an idea. As his grandfather was putting air in his tractor's tires -- in preparation to go looking for a Christmas tree no less -- Peyton wandered away with the family dog, an Australian Shepherd named Ashepoo.
It wasn't the best idea. His grandfather lives on the edge of the woods, and Peyton went into those woods. He was gone four hours. Ashepoo, however, stayed right by his side.
During their time away, all hell had predictably broken loose at the Myrick residence. Peyton's father, Richard Myrick, a history teacher who'd been at the doctor with his other child, raced over. Sheriff's deputies were called in, and they scoured the grounds with police dogs and helicopters; a message was posted on Facebook, and people from two towns joined the search -- nearly 400 of them.
the Herald. “You see it on TV. As a parent, you try to do everything in your power to protect your kids.”“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Peyton's mom, Carmen Myrick, a radiology technician, told
“It’s something that happens to other people, not you,” said Richard.
The sun set. Four hours had passed, with no sign of young Peyton. Then someone searching noticed a dog walking back and forth in front of a barn in the distance, nearly a mile from the home, on the edge of the woods. Is that Ashepoo?
It was. Searchers ran over and Ashepoo led them into the woods to Peyton -- who was asleep on his coat. Peyton's idea, evidently, had been to find a quiet place for a nap. Ashepoo had never left him.
“She stayed with him the entire time,” Richard Myrick said. “It sounds Hollywood-esque. It sounds like a movie script.”
The details are hazy -- Peyton simply called his four hours alone with Ashepoo an "adventure" -- but it's quite possible that Ashepoo had waited patiently until the boy had fallen asleep before venturing for help.
“She’s the smartest,” Peyton's grandfather said. “She’s always mothered the grandchildren. She treats them like they’re her babies.”