A Dog’s Loyalty
When it comes to loyalty, dogs are known for their unshakeable bonds. For one elderly dog named Max, his bond with his 3-year-old human meant everything to him. So when she unexpectedly went missing, he knew he had to find her…
Man’s Best Friend
Dogs haven’t been coined “man’s best friend” for no reason. They’ve earned that reputation. From loving unconditionally to providing joy and laughter, canines certainly have one-of-a-kind personalities.
The Best Companions
Dogs also make the best companions. And for one dog, he had been a great partner in crime for one family for over 17 years. And he was ready to prove that age didn’t matter when it comes to love and loyalty.
A Good Old Boy
Max was an Australian Cattle Dog, living with his family in a rural area of Queensland, Australia. It was the perfect place for a dog of his size and temperament to run around and enjoy many daily adventures.
A Dog’s Golden Years
However, Max was beginning to show signs of his age. At 17 (that’s 124 in dog years) he was beginning to slow down. Not only was he deaf, but he had gone partially blind. Therefore, Max had put his days adventuring behind him and focused on spending time with his family.
Max and Aurora
One of Max’s favorite humans in the entire world was 3-year-old Aurora. The newest addition to his family, he instinctively felt very protective of her.
Protecting His Family
Of course, guard duty usually consisted of following the little girl around the property, while she gave him a good tug on the tail or ear every so often. However, with the family’s home on a very large lot of land, Max had to make sure that Aurora didn’t wander too far off.
Staying Close to Home
The family’s property was quite expansive, and contained hills, woodland, and plains. With the little girl being way too young to walk through the woods by herself, she would normally spend her days playing in the yard with Max within a short distance from the house.
Losing Her Way
One rainy April day, Aurora decided to explore the property, wandering further from the house than ever before. Despite having Max by her side, she soon became disoriented and could not find her way back to the house.
What would happen to this sweet little girl in the Australian wilderness?
Aurora is Missing
Meanwhile, Aurora’s family discovered that she wasn’t in the yard playing as she usually did. Frantic, they began to search the surrounding areas but realized both Aurora and Max had vanished.
Where could they have run off to?
A Search Party is Formed
With no time to waste, Aurora’s family alerted the local police of her disappearance. In response, a search party was established to begin combing through the area. The family, as well as a few policemen, began to look for clues on the property.
One of the big problems in finding Aurora was the rough terrain surrounding the family home. According to Ian Phillips, from the State Emergency Services, “The area around the house is quite mountainous and is very inhospitable terrain to go walking in.”
Danger at Night
Another problem Aurora would face at night would be the extreme cold and lack of bearings in the after nightfall. Since the family property was in a rural area, the nights were very dark out in the wilderness making it impossible to see. Thankfully, Aurora had Max with her if she were to get into trouble.
Predators in the Dark
Wild animals were also a major concern. With foxes, wolves, and boars just a few of the dangers the little girl might face, the Australian wilderness could easily kill an adult let alone a toddler.
Cold and Frightened
“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.
Would they be able to find Aurora in time?
Missing Child Alert
As the sun rose the following day, the missing girl’s story had spread throughout the community. Volunteers drove out to the area to help search for the little, with over 100 people in total combing the area. Among them, was Aurora’s grandmother and she was determined to find her granddaughter at any cost.
Grandma Refuses to Give Up
Aurora’s grandmother was named Leisa Bennett and while she appreciated the professionals helping in the search, she was more determined than ever to find the little one. Regardless of the rough terrain, she pressed on through the woods and brush.
A Voice in the Brush
“The search was actually quite hard where the volunteers and the police were, amongst the very steep slopes of lantana and other vegetation,” stated Controller Phillips.
However, Leisa didn’t let that stop her. She continued to shout out her granddaughter’s name…when suddenly she heard a reply in the distance.
Grammy to the Rescue
The voice was small and oh so weak, but Leisa distinctly heard Aurora call out “grammy.” To say Leisa was excited would be an understatement. “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.”…
Max the Protector
Max ran up to Leisa and slowly but surely led her to the frightened little girl. The reunion was an emotional one, filled with tears, hugs and lots of kisses. Of course, Aurora was more frightened by her family’s reaction, since she and Max had been safe and sound together all night.
A Happy Reunion
“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.
Even though the odds had been stacked against little Aurora, she had survived with only a few minor cuts and dehydration. She was one lucky little girl.
Keeping Aurora Warm
From what the police could determine, Aurora had taken shelter under a rock for safety and warmth. Max had stayed beside her throughout the night, making sure she was safe and warm. Nothing was going to harm his tiny human friend.
One Tough Little Girl
Controller Phillips told the local news Aurora was extremely lucky. “With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining. She’s a very hardy young lass to survive without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy.”
An Incredible Outcome
Regardless of the obstacles and insurmountable odds, Aurora was safe and with her family again. Even though the night could have gone quite differently, thanks to good ‘ole Max, all was well.
Honorary Police Dog
Thanks to his heroic efforts, Max was declared an honorary police dog. Even though he lacked hearing and was moving slower than usual, it didn’t matter. He had done an amazing deed and because of him, a little girl’s life had been saved.
Max is truly the definition of a “man’s best friend.”