We call dogs “man’s best friend” for good reason. People keep all different kinds of animals as pets and many prefer other species over dogs but no matter your preferences. Even if you don’t like dogs at all, it’s impossible to deny the loyalty of a canine companion.
In most situations, that loyalty shows itself as nothing more than an excited greeting at the end of the day and maybe some protective barking at a strange noise. But in one dire circumstance, one dog would demonstrate just how far canine loyalty goes…
Max was a good boy. The Australian Cattle Dog or “Blue Heeler” lived with his family in a rural area to the south of Warwick, Queensland, Australia, an ideal setting for a young dog who liked to run around and go on adventures.
But Max was getting on in years. At the venerable age of 17 in human years, his adventuring days were well behind him, especially considering that he was now deaf and partially blind. Just like an elderly human, he was much more interested in spending time with his family than going out exploring the world…
Max especially liked to spend time with one of the newest members of his family, a 3-year-old human named Aurora. With her being so young, he instinctively felt it was his duty to protect the little girl.
That usually meant nothing more than following the girl as she walked around the house and putting up with a tug or 2 on the ear, but occasionally, Aurora would go outside and walk around the family’s property…
Close to Home
The property was expansive, containing woodlands and hills but Aurora was far too young to go off into the woods on her own. She would generally just play out in the yard by the house, Max by her side.
Lost Her Way
One day, Aurora was outside playing in some wet April weather. With Max by her side as usual, the little girl started walking around the property wandering as young children will sometimes do. But somehow, the girl lost track of exactly where her house was…
In the meantime, Aurora’s family realized that she wasn’t where they thought she was. After quickly searching the usual areas around the house where she liked to play, the family was in a panic. Their little girl was nowhere to be found.
At around 3pm, the family reported Aurora missing to the authorities. A search party was quickly organized to comb the countryside for the missing girl and her companion. The family, as well as a small number of policeman, combed the property for clues to her whereabouts…
“The area around the house is quite mountainous and is very inhospitable terrain to go walking in,” said State Emergency Services area controller Ian Phillips. As the hours of the night went by, the search party had no success at all.
Dangerous Place To Be
There are a lot of things that can happen to a person alone in the night in the Australian wilderness. Aside from the weather, Aurora was at risk of encountering a variety of dangerous wild animals. “At 3 years old, I would imagine that a young child would be very scared and frightened through the night and very cold,” said Inspector Craig Berry…
The Word Is Out
By the next morning, the word had spread about the missing 3-year-old. Not only had the SES brought in a great deal of additional volunteers, the local police as well as many members of the local community had joined in the search. In total, over 100 people were out looking for Aurora.
Among those searching was Aurora’s grandmother, Leisa Bennett. Obviously, she had a degree of personal motivation that was much stronger than what the professionals were feeling. Despite the difficult terrain, she was determined to do her share to bring the young girl back home…
“The search was actually quite hard where the volunteers and the police were, amongst the very steep slopes of lantana and other vegetation” said Controller Phillips. It was out amongst that brush that Leisa was calling her granddaughter’s name when she heard a reply.
Leisa heard a small voice calling “Grammy” out to her. “When I heard her yell ‘Grammy’ I knew it was her,” said Leisa. “I shot up the mountain … and when I got to the top, [Max] came to me.”…
Come With Me
As Leisa got close to Max, the elderly dog turned around and led Aurora’s grandmother right to the frightened girl. What followed was an emotional reunion with “a lot of tears,”so much so that it frightened the little girl,” Leisa said.
“I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were,” Leisa said. Against the odds, Aurora was alive and completely unharmed aside from some minor cuts…
She had apparently taken shelter under a rock and was kept safe and warm there by Max, who had stayed with her throughout the night, keeping her warm as the temperature dropped in the night and guarding her against any potential attackers.
“With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining,” said Controller Phillips. “She’s a very hardy young lass to survive without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy.”…
“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,” said Leisa. Aurora’s family was of course exceedingly happy not only was she safe but she’d been protected by their beloved dog.
In recognition of his efforts in keeping the girl safe, Max was declared an honorary police dog though with his lack of hearing, it’s unlikely he got the message. Even if he had, Max would probably prefer to lie around the house and leave the policing to younger dogs.