Dog keeps missing boy company while Florida deputies search by ground and air

Friday morning and into the afternoon, Burgess Avenue in unincorporated Cocoa was flooded with Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies. They were all searching for 4-year-old Frankie Orwig.

Thankfully, this is a story that ends happily: with the boy safe, and reunited with his father.  "I ran up to him, and I wouldn’t even let him go, I was just crying so badly," Frank Orwig told FOX 35 News after deputies found his son.

This all started around 9 in the morning.  Orwig says his son was playing on his iPad, and he laid his head down to rest. "I wasn’t even asleep 35 minutes or so. Then I get up, I look for him, he wasn’t in the house, and I’m freaking out."

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Child Abduction Response Team flooded the streets, while its helicopter searched from above. Meanwhile, Orwig also had to be mindful of his young daughter, who he had to pick up from the school bus stop around 2:00 p.m.

"I was literally terrified. I’ve lost one girl in a car accident. Almost lost another little girl in a dog attack. I just don’t need this right now."

One of the neighbors, Ron Peacock, says he came home from work to help with the search. "I got a phone call from the neighbors saying there’s a little kid missing, I asked what little kid, and they were like, ‘Frankie.’"

Orwig’s property is about six acres, and the surrounding neighborhood has plenty of side streets. It’s a huge area to cover. But Orwig says video from the Sheriff’s helicopter showed his little boy wasn’t alone. The family’s dog, a rescue named Rufus, was by his side the whole time, he says. 

"It’s so thick back there, you really can’t see," Orwig explained. "We yelled and yelled and yelled, but we just couldn’t find him, and he wouldn’t answer. That’s when Rufus showed up. He just couldn’t convey to us, ‘Follow me, I know where he’s at.’"

Orwig says Rufus came over to him, then rushed back out to the woods, but he didn’t process what the rescue was trying to tell him. "He’s trying to get my attention, but I’m frantic, I’m going crazy trying to figure out where my kid’s at," said Orwig. "When we were going through the video, that’s when we found out, ‘Yeah, the dog was with him the entire time."

"I’m just glad they found him," said Peacock. "In this community, we’re a family."

Frankie is doing fine; he’s not hurt. He was found in the woods about 50 or 60 yards from the house. After sighs of relief from the neighbors, and big hugs for the deputies, Frank and Frankie are back home relaxing, and giving Rufus some well-deserved praise.

"He thinks he was just on a big vacation or adventure or something," said Orwig.