A scary episode ended happily in Cochrane over the weekend as two young girls who went missing were found, apparently in good health.
The pair were found with the family pit bulls by their side, police said Monday.
The James Bay Ontario Provincial Police were called Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. about the missing young people in Driftwood.
"Police were advised that two children, Amber Leonard, 5, Lexys Leonard, 7, had gone missing sometime that morning and were believed to have gone blueberry picking with a family member," police said in a news release Monday. "Unbeknownst to their caregivers, the children had gone into the woods, near the family home to look for their dogs."
Both children and their dogs were found Aug. 31 around 12:30 a.m. about 1.5 kilometres from their home. The children were assessed by Cochrane District Emergency Medical Services.
After hearing that the children were missing, people like Paul Woodward from Timmins rallied to search for them.
"When we got there, the OPP was there, the canine units were on their way," Woodward told CTV News. "They hadn't entered the bush yet. They were asking the public to stay out of the bush -- they didn't want to confuse the scent trail for the dogs.
"We had our four-wheeler there, we were going up and down the road, drive for 30 seconds, call their names, waiting for responses."
A father himself, Woodward said seeing police return with the children in their arms was an emotional moment for everyone involved.
"We could start to hear the OPP and the search and rescue teams and the dogs barking, coming through the bush," he said. "You can hear the kids talking, talking about mom and dad — I still can't talk about it, it was a lot. But to see them come through the bush and the mom and the dad and the dogs coming out of the bush with them, it was really something."
A wide range of emergency services searched for the children, including the OPP Emergency Response Team, OPP Canine, Aviation Services, the OPP Research, Planning and Analysis Section, the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests Conservation Officers, MNRF Canine, MNRF Marine as well as a large number of civilians.
"The OPP would like to thank everyone for their assistance with the search," police said.
-- Files from Sergio Arangio