(Burlison, TN) There's a reason Cary Ferguson tightly clutched his dog Jinxy as rescuers brought him to safety. Rescuers say it was his best friend who saved his life after they were stuck in the woods for nearly eight hours.
“I thought we saw the top of his head. Then the dog went to barking, that’s how we found him,” rescuer Ruben Miller said.
Ferguson, a cancer patient, can't speak.So as four wheelers drove by searching for him, he couldn’t shout out for help.
But his dog did.
“Thank God for dogs,” Miller said.
Ferguson vanished Friday morning after leaving his home on Detroit Road in Burlison to walk Jinxy. Before rescuers found him, no one had seen Ferguson since about 10:30 a.m.
Investigators say Ferguson, who suffers from a mental illness that can cause hallucinations, wandered off.
Search teams were called both on the ground and in the air. Helicopters from the Memphis Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol were used.
Search teams covered nearly four miles of tough terrain in very hot conditions.
“These guys were out here looking in some of the most rural parts of the county,” Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley said.
At about 6 p.m., a team on ATVs heard the barking dog and found the 58-year-old sitting with his pup in a shaded area.
“In this heat, we’re very lucky,” Miller said.
When investigators found him, he was stuck in the mud of a creek bed.
“We got him up. Got him out. Got him some water,” Miller said.
Paramedics took Ferguson to Baptist Memorial Hospital Tipton for dehydration. He and Jinxy, who was released to family members, are expected to be reunited soon.
“The Lord was on his side. In all of this bottom land, in all of this foliage, all of this corn and creeks, there's no question about it, He had His hand on him today," Sheriff Chumley said.