A 17-year-old deaf and partially blind dog has been hailed an Australian hero for saving the life of a 3-year-old girl. Max the blue heeler knew his tiny human, Aurora, was in trouble, and he didn’t leave her side until she was safe.
The frightening scenario began in Queensland, Australia, when the toddler wandered away from her family’s rural property. Police officials and volunteers feared the worst when they found no trace of Aurora on Friday night, April 20.
At daylight on Saturday morning, a team of over 100 people resumed their search for the missing girl. By 8:00 a.m., Aurora had been found, alive and relatively unscathed, thanks to Max.
It was Aurora’s grandmother, Leisa Bennett, who heard the faint cries of a child on top of a rugged, mountainous terrain. Max, all senses tuned in to the happenings around him, left Aurora’s side briefly when he knew help was on the way.
Bennett spotted the dog first. Max led her to Aurora, who had spent the cold, rainy night curled up in Max’s furry body.
“When I heard her yell ‘Grammy’ I knew it was her,” a relieved Bennet said. “I shot up the mountain, and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her.”
It was a tearful reunion for the family and search crew, who acknowledge the outcome could have been horrific.
“The area around the house is quite mountainous and is very inhospitable terrain to go walking in, so she’d traveled quite a distance with her dog that was quite loyal to her,” said State Emergency Service area controller Ian Phipps.
“I think (Aurora) was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were,” Aurora’s grandmother expressed. “It could have gone any of 100 ways, but she’s here, she’s alive, she’s well and it’s a great outcome for our family.”
Aside from a few minor cuts and bruises, Aurora was unharmed. Max, wagging his tail with pride, was named an honorary police dog for his loyalty and faithfulness to Aurora during her crisis.
“With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining,” Phillips stated. “She’s a very hardy young lass to survive that without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy.”
For the volunteers who showed up expecting the worst, leaving the scene on a sunny note was very encouraging.
“The volunteers are very happy, and will be tucking into a bacon and egg sandwich very shortly,” Phillips smiled.
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