This touching story has a very happy ending. It begins when a 3-year-old girl wandered away from her home and into dense woods. A search for the missing girl was unsuccessful, but the girl wasn’t alone. When she wandered into the woods, she was followed by the family’s 17-year-old heeler. Even though the dog is deaf and mostly blind, he stayed with the girl.
The girl wandered away from her home in Queensland, Australia. She had been missing for more than 15 hours before her grandmother found her. The search party of more than 100 police and volunteers called a halt to the search as darkness prevented them from thoroughly searching the area. But Leisa Bennett, the girl’s grandmother, stayed out.
“It was really disheartening when everybody left,” said Bennett. “We were standing in the darkness knowing a 3-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.”
“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,” State Emergency Services Area Controller Ian Phipps told reporters.
SUCH A GOOD BOY, MAX! He stayed with his 3-year-old human who was lost near Warwick last night while we frantically searched for her. For keeping her safe, you're now an honorary police dog. 🐶https://t.co/QiszGFP4gg via @ABCNews pic.twitter.com/xxRc6ndeaK
— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) April 21, 2018
The girl had climbed a hill and was more than a mile away from the house. At 8:00 that morning, Bennett called out and the girl responded.
“When I heard her yell ‘Granby’ 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 girl held onto the dog. Max, for his part, tried leading her toward light, but the girl stayed where she was. She eventually curled up with him and went to sleep.
“The child had been out in the elements all night with the only company of an elderly, blind, half-deaf dog,” said Queensland Police Inspector Craig Berry. “It was quite an amazing event, and a fantastic outcome.”