HomeOutdoorsNewsLouisiana Golden Retriever Protects Young Girls Lost in the Woods for Hours

Louisiana Golden Retriever Protects Young Girls Lost in the Woods for Hours

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Matthew Palmer via Getty Images)

On Monday evening (November 28), sisters Abigail and Cecilia Bourg, ages 7 and 4, were playing outdoors near their home in Folsom, Louisiana, enjoying the cool fall weather and the company of their beloved golden retriever, Artemis. Their parents, Mary and Justin Bourg, were spending time inside the house, confident in the safety of their own backyard and the surrounding area.

Soon, they could no longer hear the girls’ play outside the window. This was nothing unusual, though. The girls often ventured into the woods nearby with their golden retriever at their side, the trees facilitating a more in-depth game of make-believe.

An hour passed with no concern, then another. As the third hour ticked by, however, their parents began to worry. What if they weren’t just out of sight beyond the tree line? What if something far darker was afoot? The daylight was fading; they should have come home by now.

“I had the worst thoughts,” Mary Bourg told WWLTV. “I just didn’t let those thoughts stick around very long because I couldn’t handle that.”

When panic set in, the parents called 911, and it wasn’t long before search and rescue crews arrived at their home. To their amazement, those anxious to help arrived in force, multiple agencies bringing a helicopter, drones, K-9 squads, and ATVs, all to assist in the search effort for their missing girls.

Search and Rescue Locate Missing Girls, Artemis the Golden Retriever

As the fourth hour came to a close, rescuers found something. There was a golden retriever in the woods, his hackles raised as he barked and growled at the approaching strangers, warning them to keep their distance. Police soon learned what was causing the dog such distress – huddled behind him, terrified and disorientated, were Abigail and Cecilia.

“Abigail was laying on top of Artemis holding his collar and just snuggled up with him,” their father explained. “And CC (Cecilia) was laying with her head on Abigail’s stomach, and they were just kind of dug in for the night.”

With the help of the community, the Louisiana State Police, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, officers from St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office helped the girls to safety. Posting a heartwarming video of the girls’ reunion with their parents on Facebook, St. Tammany called it “a very happy ending.”

“So much relief, so much weight lifted,” their mother said. “That’s the most I’ve cried in 20 years,” their father agreed.

The girls’ father, Justin Bourg, estimates Abigail, Cecilia, and Artemis the golden retriever were around three to four hundred yards away from the home. “[Searchers] mentioned something about a pond that they were kind of close to and there’s one behind us, so that’s kind of where I’m assuming they ended up,” Justin Bourg said. “My best explanation is Jesus just kind of took the reins and gave them some peace and direction.”

“There was just nothing people would stop at until our babies were found,” Mary Bourg added. “We’re just more than grateful.”