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News Link • Animals and Pets

Family dog in 'protection mode' helps patrol chopper find toddler in Minnesota cornfield

• http://www.startribune.com, By Paul Walsh

An "adventurous" 2-year-old wandered from his central Minnesota home and was rescued after nightfall, thanks to a State Patrol aircraft's heat-seeking device detecting one of two family dogs that loyally tagged along and remained with the toddler in the dark autumn chill.

The boy's few hours with Bella Grace, an English springer spaniel, and her 12-week-old pup, Madeline, came to a tail-wagging happy ending about 9:20 p.m. Thursday in a neighbor's cornfield roughly a quarter-mile away, the boy's grandfather said Tuesday.

The toddler "goes with me in the tractor and goes with me to check the corn," said Rick Gertken. "He's adventurous. He's Grandpa's boy."

The son of Kaitlyn Bottem was outside the family's home northwest of Richmond playing with three cousins ages 7, 11 and 12, when he strayed about 6:15 p.m., Gertken said.

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