Dogs
Woman with dementia is missing for three days but loyal dog helps save her
Max was unleashed but still refused to leave mom's side.
D.G. Sciortino
05.18.22

The fact that Sherry Noppe was brought home safely after being lost in the woods for three days is nothing short of “a small miracle,” according to local police.

And it’s all thanks to her 3-year-old Labrador retriever Max.

The 63-year-old, who was recently diagnosed with dementia, left her Katy, Texas, home without her cell phone to take her dog on a walk along the trail behind her neighborhood and didn’t return.

“She remembers a little bit. She said she just kind of took a wrong turn and got lost and got circled around, but after that, she doesn’t really remember much, kind of got disoriented,” her son Justin Noppe told KHOU 11.

George Bush Park - Facebook
Source:
George Bush Park - Facebook

Noppe was missing for three days with emergency service personnel and volunteers searching around her home and the nearby 8,000-acre George Bush Park.

Noppe, who went missing a Tuesday, was eventually found at 3 a.m. on Friday by a tireless crew.

“Us and police had heard some dogs barking faintly here and there, so we just kept listening for that,” family friend Michael England told ABC 13. “We were happy to find her. Happy that she is alive and healthy. The dog was there. Everything was good. I mean, the dog saved her life.”

KHOU 11 - YouTube
Source:
KHOU 11 - YouTube

The search team was able to locate Noppe because of Max, who was growling and barking. Though the loyal dog was found unleashed and without a collar, Max never left Noppe’s side.

“I think it’s amazing what he did. It’s honestly a miracle for him to have stayed with her for 3 days and not left her side,” daughter Courtney Noppe said.

Ted Heap, Harris County Constable Precinct 5 - Facebook
Source:
Ted Heap, Harris County Constable Precinct 5 - Facebook

Courtney said that Max isn’t typically a barker. She and her brother believe that Max heard rescuers approaching and was trying to protect her mother by barking and growling.

They also credit Max for saving their mother’s life.

“I think she was hiding. I think she was disoriented, paranoid, and just was hiding, didn’t want to be found. And so no, I think if Max wasn’t there, she would not have been found,” Justin said.

KHOU 11
Source:
KHOU 11

Noppe sustained a few minor cuts and bruises but was otherwise in good health.

“It’s a small miracle that she’s alive after being missing for so long,” Constable Ted Heap wrote in a tweet at the time of her rescue. “Our concern now is getting her out of the woods and to a hospital for a medical evaluation. Thank you to Texas Equusearch and the army of searchers who never gave up.”

After her evaluation, Noppe was sent home to recover with Max by her side.

Max also got a checkup at the vet and received the hero treatment with new toys and lots of treats.

KHOU11 reports that one of those treats will be a tomahawk steak!

Dana LeMaster - Facebook
Source:
Dana LeMaster - Facebook

Noppe’s story ended up going viral and was featured on several media outlets.

“FINALLY some good news! I was really hoping they would find her. Thank goodness her fur baby stayed with her. Good Job Doggo!” wrote one commenter on YouTube.

Learn more about Max the hero dog in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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