It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: losing your child.
Your mind immediately jumps to the worst. There’s no way they wandered off – someone must have taken them.
But most of the time, thankfully, when a child goes missing in the countryside, they’ve simply lost their way.
When 2-year-old Iris Nix disappeared in the Molalla River Recreation Area, Oregon, a huge search immediately began.
And, in what seems like a scene from “Lassie”, the toddler was discovered by a woman on horseback, accompanied by two miniature Australian shepherds.
Let’s look back at when the search began, after police responded to reports of a missing child 10 miles south of Molalla.
There was limited cell coverage in the area, which added an extra challenge to the search.
Those who had reported Iris missing had actually left the area to get cell reception to make the call.
It turned out that little Iris had been on a walk with her grandmother, Gayla Ann Jay, 62, when she’d suddenly raced out of Gayla’s sight – as we all know little children are so prone to doing.
When Gayla hurried to catch up with her granddaughter, she came across a four-way split. It was now impossible to know which way the little girl had headed.
Galya searched for Iris, calling her name, for 15 minutes – but with no luck.
She knew that if she had any chance of finding the little girl, she needed more than just herself. So she flagged down logging crews on the road.
The loggers joined in on the search, scouring the area for Iris, but they were unable to find her. When search and rescue crews eventually joined in, they had no luck, either.
The day was drawing to a close, and the search became more frantic.
Little Iris would have been terrified to spend a night in the wilderness, and Gayla and the rescuers were desperate to find her before darkness fell.
A few miles away, aware of the search party nearby, Tammy Stevens was riding her horse, Bo, with her two her miniature Australian shepherds, Maddie and Wilson, trotting along beside her.
The 59-year-old Beavercreek resident had been searching terrain for around 20 minutes when she made her discovery.
When she heard the cries of a child, her heart lept: she knew she’d found Iris.
Speaking to The Oregonian, she recalled what she did next, saying:
“I said to Wilson, ‘Go get her, show me the way,’ and he did. I made it to the bridge right at the north trails, and could hear Iris. I couldn’t see her. Wilson was climbing for her, so I tied Bo up and then climbed a really steep – super steep, about 70 feet – and there she was.”
Iris was “pretty upset”, according to Tammy, but with the help of Dave, a logger who was looking for Iris, she managed to get the little girl down from the incline.
It all thankfully ended well, and Iris was brought to deputies and medical personnel.
Thankfully, after being checked over by paramedics, Iris was deemed good to go, and was reunited with her family. Tammy was over the moon, saying:
“It was a really good story, I was so thankful.”
No word on whether little Iris managed to have a quick ride on Bo before she left – perhaps she’d had too much excitement for the day.
You can watch the full story in the video below!
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