From the Chronicle Herald –
SYDNEY — The tiny casket holding the body of James Delorey moved through the church, covered in spruce branches placed there by some of the men and women who searched for the boy for two days before they found him in the woods clinging to life.
His dog, Chance, standing sentinel over the boy even in death, silently followed his master’s coffin past nearly 400 mourners.
James Delorey is the young Autistic boy who wandered away from his home in rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. James, who was not verbal, had followed Chance away from the family home. Chance stayed with James to the very end, returning home just a few hours before James was finally found.
|Seven-year-old James Delorey’s casket is followed by his dog Chance as it is taken from Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Whitney Pier, near Sydney on Monday. (ANDREW VAUGHAN / The Canadian Press)
The boy’s dog, Chance, was led into the church behind the casket. Chance sat in the front passenger seat of the hearse and could be seen poking his head out the window as the funeral procession made its way through the neighbourhood.
James, who had autism and did not speak, went missing on Dec. 5 after following Chance into the woods.
Hundreds of volunteers and search and rescue crew members descended on South Bar, near Sydney, to look for the boy during the snowstorm that began shortly after his disappearance.
Chance returned to the family home two days later, sparking renewed hope in the search for James. As one team of searchers followed Chance’s tracks back into the woods, another team working from the opposite direction found James.
Rescue workers touch James Delorey’s casket after the funeral. (CBC)He was huddled in the fetal position in an area of thick brush and snow about a kilometre from his home. Unconscious and suffering from severe hypothermia, he died early the next day after he was rushed to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax in critical condition.
There was an imprint in the snow next to where James was found, where Chance had apparently huddled with the boy to keep him warm.