On Friday, April 20, a three-year-old Australian girl named Aurora went missing from her home around three o’clock in the afternoon. By Saturday morning, she still hadn’t turned up, and over one hundred police officers and volunteers were combing the Darling Downs looking for her.
They did find her later on the next day when the little girl’s grandmother, Leisa Bennett, heard the child call out from the top of a hill. “When I heard her yell ‘Grammy,'” Bennett said, “I knew it was her.”
The child had wandered more than two kilometers from her house. But that wasn’t the most surprising part. The most surprising part was how she had kept safe overnight, outside on her own.
The Darling Downs
The Darling Downs is a farming region on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in southern Queensland, Australia. It’s a place of rolling hills and pastures covered with different crops. Between the farmlands, there are long stretches of roads, bushy ridges, winding creeks and herds of cattle. It’s pretty and green, and temperate in April. However, there are also areas with steep slopes and thick vegetation. Also, on the night Aurora wandered off, it was cold and rainy.
And remember, Aurora was only three.
“It could have gone any of 100 ways,” Bennett told ABC News. “But she’s here, she’s alive, she’s well, and it’s a great outcome for our family,”
An Unlikely Hero
When Leisa Bennett heard her granddaughter’s cries, she shot up the mountain after the girl. “And when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her.”
The dog was 17-year-old blue heeler Max. Max, their family dog, is not only seventeen years old — that’s 119 in human years — he is deaf and partially blind as well. Max not only found little Aurora but stayed with her all through the night, keeping her safe. And in the morning, he led the girl’s grandmother to her.
Because of his heroism, Queensland Police named Max, an honorary police dog.
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
“SUCH A GOOD BOY, MAX!” The Queensland Police tweet read. “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 an honorary police dog.”
About Blue Heelers
The Blue Heeler is an Australian breed that dates from 1840. Also known as the Australian Cattle Dog, this herding breed has its roots in collies, other herding breeds, and native Australian dingoes. Like other herding dogs, blue heelers are intelligent and independent. They are duty driven and need a job to do. Hard working and protective, they are also devoted family dogs. Unfortunately, blindness and deafness are common as all dog’s age, but especially for blue heelers. What’s more, 15 years is at the high end of the lifespan for this breed, so simply reaching 17 is an achievement in itself.
Good boy, Max! Your family is lucky you’re on the job!