Three-year-old Jaylynn Thorpe was all smiles after a weekend ordeal in the woods and a brief stay in the hospital.
The toddler's odyssey began last Friday night when he wandered away from his Virginia home.
Once it was obvious the boy was missing, dozens of volunteers showed up to comb the area where he lived.
Rescuers knew it was a race against time between a child without warm clothes wandering in the woods and sub-freezing temperatures expected that night.
Then, what Jaylynn's mother calls "a miracle” occurred - two dogs found the child and curled up against him.
Emergency personnel say the warmth provided by those animals probably meant the difference between life and death as temperatures dipped into the teens.
Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin says the boy was missing for 21 hours. He said the child wandered nearly a mile from home through forest before the rescue team located him.
"When I first saw him, he was like, 'Momma, I got cold. I slept in the woods last night. The puppies kept me warm.' He told me that ... the dogs slept up against him. And I'm sure the body heat kept him warm," said his mother, Sarah Ingram.