Not only is a 17-year-old Blue Heeler, named Max, a senior dog with special needs but he’s also being hailed as a hero.
The deaf and partially blind dog from Queensland, Australia is being credited with the survival of a lost 3-year-old girl.
Aurora had been reported missing around 3 p.m. after she wandered off from the family home. 9News reported that the girl said she was looking for her mother.
Authorities had searched for the girl through rugged hills and bushland on a rural property in the rain for hours to no avail, according to abc.net.au.
“It was really hard last night. It was really disheartening at 2 o’clock in the morning when everyone left and we were standing here alone in the darkness knowing that a 3-year-old was out in the cold,” Leisa Bennett, Aurora’s grandmother, told abc.net.au.
More than 100 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers descended on the area to resume their search Saturday morning.
Bennett started her search up again before daylight and called out to the child during the search.
She wasn’t about to let up until her grandchild was found.
“When I heard her yell ‘Grammy’ I knew it was her,” Bennett said. “I shot up the mountain…and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her.”
Aurora was found about two kilometers from the family’s home on the family’s property.
“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,” he said. “The search was actually quite hard where the volunteers and the police were, amongst the very steep slopes full of lantana and other vegetation.”
The reunion was quite an emotional one, especially since the child was found in good health.
Her uncle, Jake Miller, reported that the girl slept under a rock with her dog to seek shelter from the rain.
“I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were,” she said. “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.”
Aurora had a few cuts and abrasions but was found to be healthy.
“With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining. She’s a very hardy young lass to survive that without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy,” said SES area controller Ian Phipps.
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“They had traveled from all over the region just to do the search and that’s one of the things they join the SES for is to look after the community and do these activities … and bring happiness to a family.”
The girl is believed to have been lost for about 15 hours.
Max was named as an honorary police dog for protecting the girl and helping rescuers find her.
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