Toddler Missing For 11 Days Until Vet Scans Pitbull’s Belly


A Warning

Her husband had warned her against rescuing that dog. He’d pleaded with her, presenting all the facts to dissuade her from bringing it home. 

“Pit bulls are known for their killing instinct and dangerous bite force!” he’d seethed. But she didn’t listen.

As the eleventh day started, she stared out the window in tears. Could her dog really have done this to her baby?

A Bad Month


But sadly, for Terry, this was only one of the worst things to happen that month. Her firstborn had an accident that left him hospital ridden. Now her lastborn was missing.  

Standing at the window, her eyes glued on the stormy clouds lording over her neighborhood, she wondered why the universe was out for her kids.

How could she live when they were not allowed to?

A Happy Family

Public Domain

Terry Sheffield had always been an easygoing mom with a good heart.

Living in West Virginia with her husband Jim and two kids, eight-year-old Matt, and two-year-old Aisling, life was more than perfect. 

Terry was also a business owner who’d opened a thriving bakery in her small town. Balancing her personal life and work had come easy to her. 

A Perfect Life 


Terry’s family lived on the outskirts of their town. Their backyard was eaten by a stretch of woods that was as magical and breathtaking as it was scary.

In winter, the entire green would be swallowed by white sheets of snow, and in fall, everything would turn orange. 

Jim, Terry’s husband, was a teacher at the local high school. He was a caring man who’d worked hard to give Terry everything she wished. She thought life would remain perfect until disaster struck. 

Wishful Thinking


The Sheffield family had always discussed the possibility of getting a pet. They all agreed that a dog would be the best fit.

Terry wanted one to watch over the house, as theirs was the furthest house in the community, while Jim wanted one to accompany him on his hikes in the woods. 

Their kids, Matt and Aisling, wanted a dog to run around in the backyard. Little did the family know what they were signing up for.

A Powerful Voice


It wasn’t long before the family went to a rescue shelter to adopt a dog. They’d agreed on visiting a pet store earlier, but on their way, their little Aisling caught sight of the shelter and, using her powerful vocal box, convinced the Sheffields to visit the shelter. 

Terry’s ears were still ringing from Aisling’s screaming and shouting. One look at the dogs, and the little girl yelled, “Mommy, mommy, doggy! I want that doggy!” until Jim pulled over.

Terry should’ve known that the beginning of the end was here.  

Inside The Shelter


The Sheffields entered the shelter, hoping to find a good boy to bring home with them. Unlike the pet store, this place seemed more chaotic. Pets hollered, barked, hissed, and meowed everywhere. 

The hairs on Terry’s neck were already erect from just stepping into the premises. But she’d never seen her youngest this excited to be somewhere.

Their decision to come here would result in nothing but pain. 

Aisling And The Pit Bull


The family started perusing the dogs in the shelter, looking for something small and cute. But Aisling had other ideas in mind.

She had started interacting with a pit bull inside one of the kennels, happily waving at it and calling it to the edge of the protective enclosure. 

One look at the connection, and Terry knew that dog was the one for their family. But Jim disagreed with her and Aisling’s choice. As it turns out, he was right to have reservations about the dog. 

Strength And Ferocity 


Pit bulls are regarded as some of the most dangerous dog breeds in the world, especially when their families don’t have the necessary training to care for them. 

They are fast and agile, with the strength and ferocity to make them powerhouses.

They are also ferocious when agitated and can easily take out chunks of flesh when backed up into a corner. There was no way Jim would bring such terror to his home. 

A Tussle Of Wills


Jim tried to explain his views to Terry and Aisling. He told them about how pets in the shelter might have experienced gruesome events in their past homes that made them even more dangerous. But his daughter began crying, begging him to let them bring the pit bull home. 

Terry wanted an intimidating and dangerous-looking dog to protect her home. She explained this to Jim, also using Aisling’s newfound connection to the dog as ammunition to back her claim.

Jim had no choice but to agree to their request. But it wouldn’t be long until trouble came knocking.  

Welcome Home, Rocket 


The first week with the dog, named Rocket by the Sheffields, was good enough. Rocket was quiet and reserved, following every command Jim and Terry gave him.

He also loved the kids, who couldn’t get enough of him. 

But it wasn’t until the first weekend that everything went south. Jim and Terry were in their backyard enjoying the cool Saturday afternoon breeze when they heard a gut-wrenching scream. 

It’s Her Son


Terry sprung to her feet, adrenaline pumping through her system as she tore toward the source of the sound.

It was Matt, who had gone to play around the block with some of his friends earlier.

She found him curled on the sidewalk outside the gate, screaming, with his hands tight around his leg. But that was only the start of Terry’s nightmare. 

A Horrifying Scene


Matt’s leg was gushing crimson. Pieces hung loosely as he moved around on the ground. He went into shock just as his eyes connected with Terry’s. It was like he’d been waiting for before finally giving in to the agony. 

His dad scooped him up with Terry still stunned. They called 911 and drove Matt, who had lost a lot of blood, to the emergency room.

Terry thought the nightmare had stopped, but it was only beginning. 

What Happened? 


The doctors worked on Matt for two hours before finally coming to Jim and Terry with their report.

They explained that Matt had been attacked by something big and vicious. It had torn away at his leg. 

They stated that the only thing that allowed him to make it home was the fear and adrenaline churning through him. But that wasn’t the worst thing. 

A Quick Answer


They explained that due to the heavy blood loss, the hospital would need to keep Matt put until they were sure he wouldn’t have any complications.

He was drifting in and out of sleep, so Jim and Terry couldn’t go in to see him.

When they asked what the doctors thought hurt their son like that, one of them answered, “A dog. Something big, maybe a pit bull.”

The Guilt Trip Begins 


Jim and Terry drove back home in silence that day.

Although she wasn’t sure if Rocket harmed their baby boy, Terry couldn’t help but feel guilty for bringing him home despite Jim’s warnings. 

She tried to recall if there was any blood on the dog’s fur when she and Jim carried Matt into the living room to apply first aid to his leg. But her mind was foggy. 

Back Home 


On the other hand, Jim wasn’t quiet after the experience. He yelled throughout the journey, although never mentioning Rocket by name. It was clear that he wasn’t a fan of the dog. 

Back home, the couple had left their youngest, Aisling, with her grandma, who was happy to watch over her and Rocket.

When they got home, the first order of business was to uncover what had happened.  


Public Domain

Jim and Terry watched footage of the nannycams peppered all over the house to pinpoint Rocket’s position during Matt’s attack.

Terry was relieved when they saw the pit bull curled next to Aisling, watching cartoons with her.  

But Jim wasn’t satisfied. He continued combing through the footage even as Terry explained to little Aisling that Matt was in the hospital and wouldn’t be back in a few days. If only she knew that things would go from bad to worse. 

Sunday Morning 

Public Domain

The distraught parents called it a night and retired to bed, hoping that Sunday would bring happier tidings.

But they woke up to their grandma frantically calling Aisling and Rocket. 

The sixty-year-old woman sounded alarmed. Jim and Terry jumped out of bed to see what the commotion was about. But what they found made them sit down in terror. 

Searching For Her 

Public Domain

Aisling was missing. Her room was in disarray, with chewed and torn clothes strewn everywhere.

Terry let out a desperate moan as Jim began looking around, calling out for their daughter. 

He searched everywhere for her, looking behind the bushes in the backyard, the basement, and the attic. But he phoned the authorities when the hour mark passed without any findings. He was determined to find his little girl and to see what had happened to her. But when he found out the truth, he would collapse sobbing.

Calling In The Experts 

Public Domain

Two officers came by immediately and began searching the Sheffield home.

They asked their grandma a few questions, ascertaining that she didn’t know what was happening. 

The policemen combed through the house. It was standard protocol after a missing person, especially a minor. But a grey cloud hung over the Sheffield family, was it their fault she was gone?

Nothing They’d Seen Before


After two hours of turning the house upside down and searching for Aisling, the police decided to call backup. 

One of the officers, a veteran, couldn’t even understand what was happening.

This wasn’t like any case they had ever seen before. But they were determined to find the little girl, no matter what state she was in.

What If?


Terry was beyond worried as she remembered the hospital report about what hurt Matt. She couldn’t help but wonder if Rocket had anything to do with this. If he had attacked Matt, what would stop him from doing the same to the little girl?

The mom choked back a sob as she thought about what he could’ve done to her. Shivers ran down her spine.

Her entire life was about to change.

Reasonable Explanation 


Tears began spilling down the young mother’s face as she took a seat on her daughter’s bed. She looked at the mess around her, nearly choking on her cries. Something had torn all of the little girl’s bedding and clothes into shreds. 

She tried to think of a reasonable explanation that didn’t involve their beloved pet, but all signs pointed toward him.

But the situation was worse than anyone could’ve imagined.

Friendly And Loving 


Using the back of her hand, she wiped the tears from her eyes. She couldn’t help but think that if she had just listened to her husband at the shelter, then none of this would’ve happened. 

But it didn’t make sense! Rocket got on well with the kids. He was friendly and loving whenever she was around. But was it possible that he was acting differently whenever she left the kids alone with him?

But then, a horrible thought came to mind. 

Torn To Bits


Terry’s eyes lingered on one of Aisling’s stuffed animals that had ruthlessly been torn to shreds, and her stomach dropped. More tears sprung to her eyes as she let out a loud sob. 

The same question echoed in her mind. If this was the condition of Aisling’s bedroom, then what condition was she in?

She didn’t even want to think about it. But where could the little girl be?

He’d Been Crying Too


She got up from the bed as soon as Jim made his way into the room, “Honey, are you alright?” His eyes were red and puffy. It was clear that he had been crying too, and who could blame him? 

His son was in the hospital, and his daughter had vanished in the blink of an eye. He was angry with himself. He should’ve been more insistent about the dog. He knew that it was a bad idea.

But the situation would only get worse. 

The People She Loved Most


Terry shook her head at his question. How could she be alright? The two people that she loved most on earth were in grave danger, and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.

But Aisling’s disappearance had scared the life out of Terry and Jim. The little girl had her own unique struggles and needed her parents’ help a little more than other kids her age.

But what were her struggles?

A Concern 


Aisling had always been scared of the dark. Although this is expected for many kids her age, hers was a bit concerning.

She couldn’t even be alone in the daytime.

But there were other concerns her parents had. She had a special condition that not many people knew about. It meant that she was in real danger if left all alone.



The little angel was also on the autistic spectrum, which meant she needed constant care. She was too sensitive to sounds and often wore noise-canceling ear muffs to tone down the chaos around her. 

She was most comfortable at home, and Terry and Jim did everything in their power to help their little angel cope.

They didn’t know if she could do it by herself.

Pride And Joy


Terry’s pride and joy was her little family, and now, it was broken apart. She was a nervous wreck and didn’t know how she was supposed to cope with any of this. 

She broke down again just thinking about how scared she was now. She felt responsible for her disappearance.

Had she made a lapse in judgment when she manipulated her husband into adopting Rocket?

Time Is Of The Essence 


She and Jim spent hours thoroughly searching every single room in their house. They looked under beds and behind doors, shouting her name, but there was nothing.

Time was of the essence, and sadly, it was passing fast.

They were exhausted, but they knew that they would only be able to rest once they knew that both of their children were safe.

Noon Is Here

Public Domain

Noon came, with the authorities making little progress.

They’d discovered that Aisling left the house with her noise-canceling muffs. 

They stood in pairs discussing in hushed tones, promising Jim and Terry that they would find their daughter. But it felt like a hard pill to swallow; they’d heard about how often missing children were actually found.

Sick To Her Stomach


Terry felt sick to her stomach. What if their beloved pet had something to do with this? Was it possible that he had hurt the young girl? What could’ve possibly happened during the night?

Although the situation was beyond terrible, Terry was somewhat relieved that the little girl had her headphones with her.

If she was out there somewhere, at least she had some protection against the noise. 

By Her Side


It was a tiny victory, but Terry was trying to focus on something good, and right now, that was all she could think about.

Jim stood by his wife’s side for the entire time, promising that everything would be alright. 

He tried to remain positive for her sake, but in reality, he was beyond terrified. He didn’t want to imagine a single day without his children. 

Continued Their Search


They continued their search through the afternoon, making each hour a grueling nightmare for Terry, who was now simmering in self-blame.

She hoped by nighttime, Aisling would be back. 

As a mother, she could only imagine how scared or lonely her daughter must have been at that moment. She didn’t want to let her mind wander, but it was difficult not to at a time like this.

Fearing The Worst


Terry reflected on their daughter’s disappearance that night. Every decision she had made in the last week had all led to where they were now.

She wondered what she could have done differently.

A mother’s grief was tearing her apart. But something happened that she couldn’t have anticipated. The neighborhood seemed just as motivated to find her little girl as she was.

Everyone Comes To Help


The night passed with the officers finding nothing to help them deduce the whereabouts of the two-year-old and her pet pit bull. 

Word got around about the search by morning, and everyone in the neighborhood stepped in to help.

It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. The kindness of strangers gave her hope.

Searching All Over



Everyone from the neighborhood came out of the woodwork to lend a hand where they could.

They didn’t have to do much to make the difference. Terry was touched by this, but she wondered if it would be enough to find Aisling.

They searched each corner of the area, even bringing K9s to help pick up a trail. What they would discover would double Terry’s fear and agony. 

No Hope


The K9 units were quick to pick up Aisling’s scent.

Everyone in the search party was more than delighted at this development. 

But their hopes came crashing when the trail led into the thick dark woods around the Sheffield home. But that wasn’t the worst of it, she was about to find out what really happened to Matt once and for all.

The Test Results


Terry screamed when an officer informed her that Aisling had wandered into the trees the day before.

But that wasn’t all. She would get the first bit of news about her son that she hadn’t had previously.

The officer also told her that after several tests at the hospital, the doctors had ascertained what had attacked her firstborn. It was indeed a pit bull.

A Cold Morning 


But he assured her that his team would do everything possible to bring Aisling home.

They set into the woods with everyone in tow, starting a search that would last ten days. 

Terry stood numb in her bedroom window, tired of sobbing and whimpering through the night. It was the worst week of her life, Jim tried being there for her but he didn’t understand the pain a mother could have.

What Had Her Dog Done?


Her firstborn was still in the hospital, and her second was missing.

Terry remembered one of her conversations with Jim. “Pit bulls are known for their killing instinct and dangerous bite force!” he’d seethed. 

The words in her memory stung something fierce. Her husband’s doubts about the dog rang like warning bells in retrospect. Could her dog really have done this to her baby?

Blaming Herself

Public Domain

Terry’s heart dropped. She felt like it was all her fault for not listening to Jim about bringing such a ferocious animal into their home.

One child was fighting for his life in the hospital and their precious special needs daughter was lost in the woods.

These are things no parent should go through. But Jim assured her that Aisling would be found soon. If only he believed his own words.

The Hours Tick By

Public Domain

It was fast getting dark and Terry and Jim clung to each other, hoping for a breakthrough. All the thoughts were going through Terry’s mind

Was her daughter safe? Did she have food to eat? Where could she have gone in such a short space of time?

Terry was beginning to expect the worst and then one of the officers brought them news they were dreading.

Dwindling Hope

Public Domain

They found Aisling’s blanket. It was the one she always had with her. Terry looked at Jim in panic. This could only mean one thing. Their daughter was in grave danger.

They asked the officers to keep looking. It was now a matter of life and death.

Terry broke down in tears as she held onto the blanket. If only she had listened to her husband.

What Are The Chances?

Public Domain

Jim spoke to the officer in private. He wanted to know what their chances were of finding their daughter. The officer didn’t have much to say.

He had seen many cases such as these and not all of them end happily.

Terry gave the blanket back to the crew so that the K9s could sniff out Aisling’s scent. It would be a long and painful night.

No Time For Sleep


Day quickly turned to night. The search party had to be called off. Terry was left sobbing as she couldn’t understand why they had stopped looking for her daughter.

The officer advised everyone to get food and rest as they would be starting first thing at daybreak searching for little Aisling.

Jim thought it was a good idea but Terry was not having it. She was not going to sleep until her precious daughter was home.


Public Domain

As soon as the sun rose in the sky, Jim could see the team from outside their house. Terry was dressed and handing out cups of fresh coffee and sandwiches to the team.

She must’ve been up all night. The team was soon on its way.

It would be a few hours before the lead officer came to them with more bad news, this time Terry could not control her emotions.

Another Discovery

Public Domain

They found a shoe and it was definitely Aisling’s. Terry fell to the ground in despair. Her mind was filled with all the bad thoughts of a mother looking for her child.

She could see the officer looked sad and defeated but they weren’t going to give up just yet.

To the team, it didn’t mean that all hope was lost. It only spurred them on to work twice as hard.

The Clock Is Ticking

Public Domain

Minutes turned to hours and it was already 1 pm in the afternoon. Where could their child have strayed so far? Terry was beginning to lose all hope, desperately calling her child and the dog.

They were once again losing light and Jim and the team searched the deepest woods and looked behind tree stumps and in the nearby stream.

Then, out of the clearing came something they had not anticipated.


Public Domain

Running at a leisurely pace, was Rocket. He looked exhausted and was struggling to catch his breath. The team ran to him and gave him some water.

Terry was overcome with anguish. If Rocket came alone, where was Aisling?

She and Jim ran over to the dog, but what they would see chilled them to the bone.

Wounded All Over

Public Domain

Rocket’s fur was matted with blood and Terry and Jim could see that there was blood on his mouth as well. What had this dog done to their precious girl?

The officer examined Rocket and saw that he had many puncture wounds and was badly injured. It looked like he was in a fierce fight for survival.

But Terry was not convinced, she knew she had failed Aisling by bringing the bloodthirsty creature into their home.

The Search Continues

Public Domain

But then, Rocket began trotting away. He stopped and looked at them and then began a slow run. He wanted them to follow him.

It was a long walk. They traipsed through the thick, dark woods. They had never been this deep into the woods before and Terry was getting all the more anxious.

Then they heard a sound that made them stop dead in their tracks.

Staring Into Oblivion 


Terry’s eyes were glued on the dark, massive hills that stretched out into the horizon when something odd emerged from the trees. 

She rubbed her eyes just to make sure and looked again. The form of a little girl took shape before her eyes.

It was Aisling. Tears started streaming down her face as she couldn’t believe what she saw.

Aisling Was Alive



Terry didn’t know if this was a hallucination or not. She’d been getting quite a few of those lately, given how little she slept. 

She raced down the stairs, finding Aisling and Rocket in the company of rescuers, covered in mud and twigs.

She cupped her face with her hands and sobbed as she clutched her girl close to her chest.

They’re Back

Public Domain

Terry scooped them up, crying as she checked their bodies for injuries.

Aisling was covered in ticks and scratches but didn’t seem like she had any wounds. She thanked God and hugged her again.

But Rocket was another story altogether. He had several bite wounds on his body, each of which painted a vivid enough picture of what must’ve happened in those woods. 

Aisling’s Answer



Terry called Jim and the authorities, and they took Aisling to the hospital for checkups.

On the road, Terry asked her daughter why she had left them. 

Aisling’s answer left steaming cracks in her heart. It was something so pure that it left everyone stunned. But the little girl had gone through so much more than they could ever imagine. More than a little girl ever should.

At The Hospital 

Public Domain

“Rocket and I wanted to see Matt,” the girl replied drowsily. Terry hugged her as fresh tears streamed down her face. “That’s so sweet,” she said. “But don’t ever leave us again, sweety.” Aisling had cut through the woods and gotten lost. It was clear that Rocket had been watching over her all the while.   

The doctors found traces of No Nuts energy bars in the girl’s system. They theorized that Rocket had been stealing candy bars from somewhere to feed her. But that wasn’t all. The pit bull’s body’s deep bite marks matched those on Matt’s leg. When the parents asked Aisling about what she’d seen in the woods, she only started trembling.

Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

Something Still In The Woods


The doctors found traces of No Nuts energy bars in the girl’s system.

They theorized that Rocket had been stealing candy bars from somewhere to feed her. 

But that wasn’t all. The pit bull’s body’s deep bite marks matched those on Matt’s leg. When the parents asked Aisling about what she’d seen in the woods, she only started trembling. It meant that something was still out there in the woods.