A 17-year-old, part blind and deaf dog has been hailed a hero after looking after a three-year-old child who had got lost, alone in the Australian bushland overnight.
Max the family dog stayed by the side of little Aurora for more than 16 hours, after the youngster went missing after going for a walk outside the vast expanse of rural space outside her family’s property in Queensland.
The elderly pet was named an “honorary police dog” by Queensland police for helping keep the toddler safe and warm overnight and helping reunite her with her family.
A mass search had been launched involving two helicopters, as temperatures dropped and fears grew that the child could have fallen into a dam near the property.
Her grandmother Leisa Bennet spoke of the sleepless night they had after hours of searching had led to nothing – and how Max the dog eventually helped her locate little Aurora.
She told ABC News in Australia: “We were standing here alone in the darkness knowing a three-year-old was out in the cold. It wasn’t a situation where we could go home and sleep in our warm blankets knowing she was out here.”
“I thought it was a bird at first yelling back yes. But then when I heard her yell ‘Grammy’, I knew it was her,” she told 9 News. “When I got to the top the dog came to me and led me straight to her.”
The little girl escaped the ordeal unharmed, aside from a few grazes and bruises from the rough terrain.
Inspector Craig Berry from Queensland Police told the news channel: “The child had been out in the elements all night with only the company of an elderly, blind, half deaf dog, so it was a positive outcome.”
Queensland Police posted a picture of the dog on their Facebook page, which quickly got more than 11,000 ‘likes’.
The police team wrote: “SUCH A GOOD BOY, MAX!
“He stayed with his three-year-old human last night whilst she was lost near Warwick.
“For keeping her safe until she was found, you’re now an honorary police dog!”