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Family dog kept missing boy alive, sheriff says

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A mixed Labrador retriever was being hailed as a hero after it was found with a 22-month-old boy who had gone missing the night before.

"That dog is what kept him alive," Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews told The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C.

Wearing only a T-shirt and diaper, Tyler Jacobson had gone missing from his Elgin, S.C., home on Friday night. His mom and her boyfriend told police that he vanished after leaving the family bedroom, where they were watching TV, to get some juice, The State reported.

Temperatures had dipped into the 40s overnight, and while police searched with bloodhounds and a helicopter until midnight, they couldn't find the boy.

The search resumed the next morning, when the boy's crying led rescuers to him. He and his family's dog were behind a neighbor's home across the street.

Linda Harr, who lives in the house near where Tyler was found, said she had heard the helicopter and thought a criminal was on the loose. "So I locked the door," WIS TV reported her as saying. "The last thing I was gonna do is go outside."

"I just wish I'd have known, I could have warmed him up, called the cops," she said.

Emily DuBose, another neighbor, called it surreal. "Just thinking that a dog would watch a baby over the night, it's kind of like a movie instead of real life," WIS TV quoted her as saying.

Matthews noted that living conditions in the boy’s home were “deplorable" and that the state Department of Social Services had been notified, The State reported.