A formerly abused shelter dog is being called a hero after finding a shivering 3-year-old girl lying naked in a ditch in the cold.
Two years earlier, when Delta Animal Shelter in Michigan rescued mixed-breed Peanut, she had two broken legs, broken ribs, and a "belly full of carpet," according to the shelter. Her former owner was reportedly convicted for animal abuse, and Peanut went on to live with new owners in Escanaba, Michigan, CBS reports.
On March 17, Peanut reportedly began to exhibit some unusual behavior. The now-3-year-old, usually subdued dog was barking uncontrollably and trying to get outside.
One of Peanut's owners said that the dog had "started going crazy at our house. She was running up and down the stairs, barking and yelping," according to Michigan Live.
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She said that Peanut then went to garage and barked at her husband, who realized that the dog wanted to go out.
Once the husband let her out, she ran toward a field behind the home, with the husband following behind her.
As the dog ran, she came to a ditch in the field, where she stopped and looked toward her owner. Inside the ditch, the man saw a small child, naked and curled into a ball, shivering against the weather. The temperature was reportedly around freezing when the young girl was found.
He immediately picked the girl up and wrapped her in his shirt to keep her warm before running home with her to call 911. The family reportedly put blankets on the 3-year-old girl to keep her warm.
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"The little girl was barely hanging on for her life," said Peanut's owner in a letter to Delta Animal Shelter. "By the time the ambulance and police arrived, the little girl could only say one thing -- 'doggie.'"
"Thanks to Peanut, a little girl's life was saved," the owner said.
Delta County police corroborated the story, confirming that Peanut had taken her owner to the child.
The young girl was uninjured, but was sent to a hospital for tests, while police found the child's parents at a home nearby. Child Protective Services then got in
"Further investigation unveiled unsafe and unsanitary living conditions at the residence," said the sheriff's office. "Child Protective Services was contacted and the found girl along with another young female were eventually removed from the residence."
Peanut's owner praised her pet's "sixth sense," saying that if she hadn't been rescued, that the young girl may not be alive today.
"As you know, her background was so heartbreaking and we are so happy that we were able to take her into our home and give her the love and the family she deserves," said the owner.