17-Year-Old Deaf, Partially Blind Dog Helped Save Toddler Lost Overnight
It didn’t really matter that ol’ Max was deaf. Or that his eyesight wasn’t very good.
Instead, the 17-year-old blue heeler had a loyalty that helped keep his tiny human warm and safe until he could help lead rescuers to her.
The saga began in 2018 on a rainy April night in Queensland, Australia, when Aurora, 3, wandered off around 3 in the afternoon, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The rugged Australia Bushland is not always hospitable, and the young girl was dressed in thin clothes. As soon as Aurora’s family realized the little girl was missing, a search party of more than 100 people including State Emergency Service volunteers, police and nearby residents assembled and set out to find her.
Little did they know, Max, the family dog, was on the case. The smart pup had followed Aurora over a mile from home and kept her warm for the next 15 hours while her family and rescuers continued their search.
Around 8 a.m. the following day, Aurora’s grandmother Leisa Bennett and others heard faint calls coming from the top of a mountain. Following the sound, Bennett was soon greeted by Max, and he led her straight to Aurora.
The young girl was curled up on the ground, tired, and cold, but found alive thanks to Max.
“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.”
“He never left her sight. She smelled of dog, she slept with the dog,” Bennett said.
“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.
“The search was actually quite hard where the volunteers and the police were, amongst the very steep slopes,” Phipps said.
For his heroics, Queensland Police named Max their first-ever honorary police dog.
Thankfully, other than a few minor scratches, Aurora made it out of the ordeal unscathed.
“With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining,” Phipps said after the girl was rescued.
“She’s a very hardy young lass to survive that without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy,” he said.
“I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were,” Bennett 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,” she said.
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