A little bit of luck, good old-fashioned police work and a dog named Angel helped a little girl find her parents after she wandered away from home Sunday afternoon, police said.On Sunday around 4:30 p.m., a woman called police because she found the 3-year-old girl walking outside with her dog and didn’t see any parents around.The caller said the girl was dirty and crying and all alone – except for Angel, a small family dog which police said refused to leave her side.The little girl said she was hungry and had taken her dog for a walk, but she had gotten lost and couldn’t find her way home.Adding to the concern, she couldn’t tell the officers where she lived, said Sgt. Jake Mahoney, Aiken Public Safety spokesman. She was lost.Officer Chad Cathcart walked with the little girl around the apartment complex where she was found to try to help her find her home, but they couldn’t find her family, Mahoney said, until another officer came up with an idea.Officer Jennifer Bickel noticed that the dog was microchipped and had been registered with the City of Aiken. Then, all of the pieces started to fall into place.The officers called Animal Control and found who had registered the small dog. That residence was nearby, Mahoney explained.The officers took the girl to the residence and found her family.The girl’s father admitted to police that he hadn’t realized the little girl had left. He and his wife fell asleep between 1:30 and 4 p.m., and he said he thought all of the doors had been locked. The girl’s older siblings, 5 and 6, were also home, but somehow, police said, she slipped out to walk the dog.Mahoney said Angel stayed at the child’s side the entire time."The dog was very protective of her," he said. "(The dog) didn’t want to leave her side."The girl was checked out by EMS and was OK, Mahoney said. She was a little shaken up, but she didn’t seem to suffer any trauma, he added.Police said the parents do not face any charges at this time. Mahoney said they called social services, but charges are not likely.Karen Daily, a graduate of USC, has been the crime reporter at the Aiken Standard for seven years. She has reported here since 2001.
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