$1 Can Save Many Shelter Dogs!
Front Page News

Missing Toddler Found with the Family Dog Protecting Him

“This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”


When 3-year old Carson Urness of Cooperstown, North Dakota went missing from his front yard around 7:30pm, it wasn’t long before his family noticed their dog, Cooper, a Shepherd/Golden/Lab mix, was missing too.

After frantically searching for an hour, the boy’s parents called 911 and a search party of 800 family, friends, and police and fire department officials began.

The search party continued well into the night, while temperatures in the North Dakota town dropped to a frigid 40-degrees.

Around 2:30 am, during a final property sweep before calling off the search for the night, officials sent out one last 4-wheeler to search a field on the Urness’ property – that’s when Cooper, the family dog, poked his head up above the tall grass.

When they got closer, they found that Cooper was laying on top of Carson, protecting him from the cold.

It was Cooper’s devotion to the boy that may have kept him alive and well during the ordeal. The Urness’ say that Cooper never leaves the yard, but that he must have followed little Carson to keep him safe.

The Urness family rescued Cooper 3 years ago after they found him wandering along the side of the road. It seems this grateful boy was returning the favor by becoming the rescuer.

ABC News

Image 100572046 13348155


  1. Avatar Of Jgm379



    We have a farm and literally live in the middle of nowhere. We also have 7 kids from 0-15. When you live in our type of environment, it is perfectly normal to have a “be home when the street lights come on” type of lifestyle. Even my children at 3 and 4 years old take off outside and wander around the property playing with toys and following their siblings around. This was the normal lifestyle for hundreds of years until recently, and yes we would search on our on for our missing child just like this family did if given the same scenario. We don’t have to worry about criminals in our neck of the woods, because the dogs would take care of business if you know what I mean. Give these folks a break and get back to your original roots and grow a backbone.

    • Avatar Of Melly



      Of course, families over the past several hundreds of years were much more likely to suffer the death of a child than we are now.

  2. Avatar Of Alex Alex says:

    I read the comments, then went back a re-read the article, twice…
    I don’t know where these folks live in ND, but many, many parent let their kids play outside after supper, without a care in the world. The fact that 800 people turned out to help in the search tells me this is probably a very close knit community, where kids play outside, unsupervised, in the neighborhood all the time. The fact that they looked for him for an hour before calling in help also makes me think they probably have a strong feeling of security in their neighborhood and didn’t even think he might have been abducted. This happens allot in gated communities and in rural areas. Parents assume a child wandered off, to chase an animal, or play with other kids.

    There is no excuse really, but since the dog was also missing, it is easy to understand why they didn’t think somebody took their son. I would probably have assumed the kid wandered off also. HOWEVER, this should be a lesson to all parents, a three year old child should never, ever, be left unsupervised, period. At that age, so many things can happen. The kid could just as easily have tried to put something in his mouth and choked to death, or fallen and hit his head, or any number of other things. A three year old is much to young to be alone outside (or inside); children that age needs constant (24/24) supervision and constant vigilence.

    Obviously they certainly have learned their lesson, but in many countries (states), Child Services would have removed the child for negligence and the parents would have been charged with criminal neglact of a minor.

    • Avatar Of Alex Alex says:

      Come to think of it, that number (800) is probably a typo. It is probably 80.
      800 people is allot of bodies and I reallly don’t think that many people would show up to help search for a kid, no matter how close the community is. But even so, 80 people is still alot!

    • Avatar Of Di



      FFS how can a child learn emotional independence with a helicopter mom hovering above him 24/24 ?? OMG your rant reveals your nuroses. I’m glad my mom wasn’t like you

    • Avatar Of Dana Bray

      Dana Bray


      Why register such a judgmental, negative comment? Are you perfect? Would you prefer a foster home for this child? What is wrong with appreciating the story as it happened? Get down off your high horse!

  3. Avatar Of Peggy



    What on earth were the dog and a 3 year old child doing outside unsupervised? You were lucky this time.

  4. Avatar Of Bess Williams

    bess williams


    I’ve always felt that we don’t rescue dogs – they rescue us!

  5. Avatar Of Donna Mills

    Donna Mills


    Lol Trish. What a great story 🙂

  6. Avatar Of Trish Natale

    Trish Natale


    Thank God Cooper is smarter than that boys parents! Who leaves a 3 year old alone in a yard and then waits an hour before calling for help?!!

    • Avatar Of Barbara



      You misread – after searching frantically for an hour (after they noticed Carson was gone) they called 911.

      • Avatar Of Peggy



        Barbara, I don’t think they “misread”. They should have called for help in the search as soon as they determined the child was not somewhere else on the property. What if he had be abducted or hurt? That hour could have been vital to his recovery.

        • Avatar Of Ken



          Peggy, hence the hour before they called 911, because they were SEARCHING THEIR PROPERTY and HOME to see if he was somewhere on the property. So YES people WILL MIS-READ that part.

          • Avatar Of Taylor



            i agree kids are ninjas some times you give them crap intill youre kids dissapear and 3 year olds open doors

          • Avatar Of Liz



            Taylor is right. 😛 Also, I live about an hour away from the beginning of the agricultural communities in Nebraska. It’s not uncommon for people in rural areas here to be somewhat laid back about kids playing outside. The crime rate is pretty low and everyone would notice if an outsider drove through town or down the roads. Part of the country tradition of waving at each other is also a way to note who is coming and going because people actually still give a crap. 😛 In the country, you can look for a kid for an hour first because the only reason you call your one sheriff is to file a report and call in outside resources from an hour away. When the child is most likely on your property (which he was) that’s pretty much a waste.

            And 3-year-olds do indeed open doors, unlock doors, and can undo most child locks. If your kid is real smart like mine, they can do all of that by 18-months-old. You never know they can do it until after they do it, so judge less. Everyone needs to be less preachy and remember their own potential for mistakes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top

Like Us for Wonderful Dog Stories and Cute Photos!