Prescott, Wisconsin – Autumn is an 8-year-old golden retriever. She is a family pet who has never been trained for search and rescue. In addition, she’s a little chunky at 75 pounds. Nevertheless, on July 4 she did what hundreds of searchers had been unable to do for over 20 hours – she found a missing 5-year-old autistic boy.
Scotty Meyer wandered away from his house in the middle of the day on July 3. It was a sweltering hot day and the family’s air conditioner was being worked on at the time, causing a diversion that allowed the little boy to walk out of the house and fenced yard without being seen by anyone. He was wearing only a pair of shorts and a diaper, and is unable to speak. Despite an immediate and thorough search being conducted by over 500 volunteers, Scotty was not found that day and spent Tuesday night alone in the woods.
Jason Moser joined the search on Wednesday morning, and brought his family dog Autumn along despite wife Melissa’s protests that perhaps at her age and weight, Autumn wasn’t up to the task. Autumn proved her wrong, locating Scotty at about 8:00 am in an area that had already been searched multiple times by volunteers. Autumn took Moser to a tree on a sharp bluff, where Moser said, “I heard a little whimpering, a little crying. I saw bare skin and a diaper.” He found the boy conscious and responsive and offered him a water bottle. Scotty immediately took it and guzzled the water while Moser called 911.
According to family sources, the boy suffered from dehydration, severe diaper rash , sunburn and multiple mosquito bites, but will make a full recovery. The family is very grateful to the Mosers and their amateur search-and-rescue dog.
Autumn’s family said they would reward her with “her own steak or hamburger for dinner, in addition to her usual bounty of spillage” from the Mosers’ 4-year-old and 11-month-old sons, Liam and Kage.