Deaf Partially Blind Dog Helped Locate Age 3 Girl Missing Overnight

Dec 01, 2020 by apost team

When Aurora, a three-year-old from Queensland, Australia, went missing in 2018, a massive rescue mission was mobilized to track the little girl down and bring her home. 

The toddler ended up spending 15 hours in rugged bushland after she wandered off from her grandmothers' rural property. When rescuers finally found her the next morning, they were astonished to discover that she had made a friend; Max – a 17-year-old old deaf and partially blind blue heeler canine who spent the whole night by Aurora's side. 

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

On April 20, 2018, at 3:00 pm, Aurora was reported missing by her grandmother,  Leisa Bennett, after the girl wandered off on her own into the local woodlands. By that night, after searching the surrounding area and hills, police officers could not find a trace of the girl. 

The next day, a massive rescue operation consisting of over 100 State Emergency Service volunteers (SSE), police officers, and concerned locals was mobilized to locate the girl, and she was finally found at 8 am by Ms. Bennet and a team of rescuers. According to Ms. Bennet's partner, Kelly Benston, the concerned grandmother had heard Aurora shouting at the top of a mountain.

"She found the dog first. Max led her to Aurora," Mr. Benston told the Australian Broadcasting Network

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Ian Phipps, an SSE area controller, later confirmed Mr. Benston's story, sharing that a family member had found Aurora after her calls for help were heard. Aurora was still on her family's property in Cherry Gullay when the team located her, around 1,2 miles away from her house.

"The area around the house is quite mountainous and is very inhospitable terrain to go walking in, so she'd travelled quite a distance with her dog that was quite loyal to her," Phipps said.

He added that the steep slopes full of abundant vegetation made the rescue mission all the more challenging for the police and volunteers. Thankfully, her grandmother was able to hear her faint cries.

 "When I heard her yell 'Grammy' I knew it was her," Ms.Bennett told reporters. 

"I shot up the mountain ... and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her."

After 15 painful hours of worry, Ms. Bennett was emotional to be reunited with her granddaughter. 

"I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were," Ms Bennett admitted. "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."

Thankfully, Aurora was brought back to safety unscathed, save a couple of light cuts and abrasions, despite the harsh chilly weather and rainfall of the previous evening. 

"She's a very hardy young lass to survive that without any ill effects and everyone, all the volunteers are extremely happy," Mr. Phipps said.

According to Ms. Bennett, Aurora spent the whole night with the dog, who at first attempted to lead the girl towards the lights, but ended up sleeping next to her. 

"He never left her sight. She smelled of dog, she slept with the dog," Ms. Bennett shared.

In honor of Max's heroics, the Queensland Police Department honored him as their first-ever honorary Police Dog, presenting him with a swanky QPS collar and medallion. 
 

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While Max is truly a hero, it isn't unheard of for dogs to assist in search and rescue (SAR) missions, as their ability to detect human scent can prove to be valuable on missions following natural disasters or locating missing people. Many states have since integrated SAR Dogs into their Police force and have adopted special training programs for them. 

In the United States, SAR canines are crucial to the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force's work. According to their website, Labradors, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Malinois, and Border Collies are the most common breeds used in their missions. The dogs go through 600 hours of rigorous training, in which the canines learn to track down human scent and lead their handlers to their findings as a "game."

In any case, it was lucky that Max was at the right place at the right time when he found Aurora. Just as the Queensland Police Department put it in a tweet, he is "such a good boy" indeed!

Have you ever heard of a dog tracking down a missing person? Let us know in the comments, and make sure you pass this along to your friends and family!  

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