A loyal dog named Max remained by the side of a terrified 3-year-old for 15 hours before she was finally discovered in an Australian bushland. The old blue heeler kept little Aurora company overnight amidst the shrubbery of Queensland’s Southern Downs after the child was separated from her family.
After going missing at about 3 p.m. on Friday, a search party was sent out to hunt for the young girl. As the rain began to pour, and as darkness began to close in, there was still no trace of the vulnerable little girl. Over 100 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers, police and members of the public were up early on Saturday morning to continue the desperate search.
To their amazement, they discovered Aurora safe and well along with her trusty dog Max at around 8:00 a.m.
— Bill Stewart (@billstewart61) April 21, 2018
For his exceptional service, Max has been awarded the coveted title of “honorary police dog.”
Family friend Kelly Benston said Ms. Bennett and others who were searching for the child heard a faint cry from the top of a mountain on Saturday morning.
“She found the dog first. Max led her to Aurora,” Mr. Benston explained, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Company.
SES area controller Ian Phipps confirmed that a family member had spotted Aurora and Max on Saturday morning.
“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,” Benston continued. “The search was actually quite hard where the volunteers and the police were, amongst the very steep slopes full of lantana and other vegetation.”
Ms. Bennett recalled how she tracked down the 3-year-old after she started responding to her desperate shouting.
“When I heard her yell ‘Grammy’ I knew it was her,” she explained. “I shot up the mountain … and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her.” Bennett added: “He never left her sight. She smelled of dog, she slept with the dog.”
When she eventually located Aurora, Bennett broke down and wept with joy.
“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.”
Rescuers were astonishing at how well Aurora fared in harsh weather conditions. Despite a few minor cuts, she was in perfectly good health.
“With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining,” Phipps said. “She’s a very hardy young lass to survive that without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy.”