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Last Year: James Delorey's dog, Chance, sits in the front passenger seat of the hearse carrying the boy's casket to church on Monday. (CBC)

A dog credited with leading searchers to a seven-year-old autistic boy from Cape Breton who got lost right before a snowstorm without winter clothes was inducted into a pet food manufacturer’s animal hall of fame.

James Delorey died from hypothermia soon after he was found, two days after going missing and sparking a massive search near South Bar, Nova Scotia, that captured the nation’s attention last December.

But Purina says Chance, a nine-year-old Dalmatian/Fox terrier mix, deserved recognition for reuniting the boy with his family.

“Chance not only kept James alive until he could be found, but he is also the reason Veronica (Fraser) was able to say goodbye to her son,” the company said in a release.”

Delorey was severely autistic and non-communicative, complicating the extensive search involving helicopters and hundreds of volunteers.