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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Toddler Found Safe with Cocker Spaniel Mix After Going Missing in Woods for 24 Hours

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Dogs and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re similar in many ways, and growing up with a loyal, four-footed companion is one of life’s simplest joys.

The bond between a cocker spaniel mix named Peanut and a 3-year-old named Abigail was strong enough to keep them together despite being on their own for 24 hours.

It was around 6:45 p.m. on Sunday night that the two scampered off together.

It’s a little unclear what started the journey, but they were off together, setting out from their home in Winter, Wisconsin, and sparking a search that involved hundreds of volunteers.

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“The Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office is asking all volunteers looking to help search for the missing 3 year old in Winter to register at the Winter ball park at the intersection of Park and Grove,” the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department posted on Monday.

“At this time we do have an influx of volunteers.”

“Ladwig is a white female three-year-old with blonde hair and blue eyes,” authorities shared in a bulletin. “She stands about 2’10” and weighs about 41 lbs.”

The toddler was last seen wearing a black shirt with yellow flowers, and she wasn’t wearing shoes at the time of her disappearance.

“Her dog peanut might be with her but not for sure,” Lisa Koch, Abigail’s mother, posted on Facebook. “She’s been gone for 14 1/2 hours and still not found peanut can be aggressive so please watch out for her.

“Abby is very shy and shuts down fast and won’t say nothing if she is scared so please keep that in mind. Peanut does not have her collar on but if she is found please call my phone.”

Volunteers showed up to comb the area. A helicopter joined in. Search dogs covered the area. A storm blew through overnight, causing problems.

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But the next day at about 7:20 p.m., Abigail appeared as quickly as she had disappeared, popping up on the opposite side of the street from where she had gone missing.

Neighbor Jerome Frederick was sitting on his porch, reading a book, when he spotted Peanut running around.

“It just dawned on me when it got about there, wait a minute!” he told KBJR-TV. “That’s their dog, I’ve seen it over there and I turn my head and she’s standing there!”

“In 77 years, I have never had a feeling like that. I was shocked, happy,” he added.

Apparently, the little girl, who police said was found walking from the woods into a neighboring yard, had just one question: “Where’s my mama?”

According to a report released by the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department, Abigail had scratches, bug bites and dehydration, but after treatment at the hospital she was released.

“[She’s] happy, she’s very tired, very sore,” said the girl’s aunt, Johnna Ludack. “She said she followed the dog, she was in the woods and she did sleep in the woods. She slept with the dog.”

While Abigail is doing well, Peanut seems to have sustained some injuries that are affecting her mobility.

According to a GoFundMe for her, she was diagnosed with a torn ligament and Lyme disease.

Over $800 has been raised for her care, so hopefully this good, loyal pup will spend many more years by Abigail’s side providing companionship and protection.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking