Dog Helps Emergency Workers Locate Naked, Freezing 3-Year-Old In Ditch

A 3-year-old girl was found naked and freezing in a Rapid River ditch on March 17, when Michigan’s late winter temperatures dropped below 30 degrees. But thanks to a dog named Peanut, she’s now expected to make a full recovery.

Delta County Sheriff’s Department have identified her parents, and have already taken the young girl and her sibling to another home.

“The child is fine and is well and is in good hands as we speak,” said Deputy Steve Kositzky was one of the officers who responded to the scene. “There was one other child that was located in the home and that child was removed as well and to my knowledge both those children are together in a foster care type home.”

Delta County Deputies and EMS were able to transport the 3-year-old to St. Francis hospital, where she was tested for hypothermia and frostbite, but this story could have ended much more tragically were it not for Peanut. While the girl was curled up and shivering in the ditch, Peanut was barking at her owners frantically. Once outside, Peanut ran straight for the girl, bringing her owners along to help.

The couple wrapped the young girl up in a sweatshirt before calling 911 back at their house, and she let them know she was thankful for the gesture in her own way.

When emergency personnel arrived, the young girl was able to eke out a single word, “Doggie.”


Making this rescue even more incredible, according to Upper Michigans Source, is the fact that Peanut’s life has been fraught with struggles as well.

When Peanut, originally named Petunia, was adopted from the Delta Animal Shelter, she was suffering from broken legs, broken ribs, and a stomach was full of carpet scraps. She came to the shelter as the result of her own abuse and neglect case. But since being adopted by the Rapid River couple, she’s made a full recovery.

The full investigation has yet to conclude, but Delta County Prosecuting Attorney Phil Strom is grateful for the assistance Peanut and her owners were able to provide.

“We are waiting for the full police report, the full investigation to unfold,” Strom said. “We are thankful we had a concerned citizen member find the child.”

The 3-year-old and her sibling have been placed in protective custody as the case proceeds. The Animal Rescue Site wishes them hope for the future, and for Peanut and her family. There is no mistaking the compassion and understanding animals have for human life, and that spirit is no more exemplified than in Bryn, a Border Collie who has saved lives all around the world. Click the link below to read more about his recent recognition!

Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.

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