Hundreds of people — many of them strangers — gathered Monday in Sydney, Nova Scotia for the funeral of a seven-year-old boy who died after wandering away from his home just before a snowstorm.
Rescue officials said the little boy, who had followed the family dog into the woods on Saturday afternoon, probably clung to life by seeking shelter in the thick underbrush and huddling with the pet.
But it seems James, who was autistic and could not speak, did not endure the torment of his last days by himself. His faithful dog, Chance, stayed by his side. According to news accounts, the dog did not leave him for two days.
Chance returned to the family home two days later, sparking renewed hope in the search for James. As one team of searchers followed Chance's tracks back into the woods, another team working from the opposite direction found James.
He was huddled in the fetal position in an area of thick brush and snow about a kilometre from his home. Unconscious and suffering from severe hypothermia, he died early the next day after he was rushed to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax in critical condition.
There was an imprint in the snow next to where James was found, where Chance had apparently huddled with the boy to keep him warm.
The boy's dog, Chance, was led into the church behind the casket. Chance sat in the front passenger seat of the hearse and could be seen poking his head out the window as the funeral procession made its way through the neighborhood.
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