Queensland, Australia, police credit a deaf and partially blind Australian cattle dog, aka a blue heeler, for keeping a lost 3-year-old girl safe after she wandered into bushland surrounding her grandmother's property.
Aurora Kyle was reported missing late in the afternoon of April 20. A search commenced after her grandmother, Leisa Bennett, notified authorities that the little girl was gone.
But the search had to be suspended around 1:30 a.m. due to the darkness and wet weather. The size of the property was also a factor, including a steep, woody mountain.
Max the blue heeler did not get that message, however.
A very good boy
The 17-year-old Max had gone with Aurora when she left her grandmother's property, apparently staying by her side all day and night.
And it's a good thing he did. Aurora was barefoot and in a T-shirt when she wandered off. Between the rain and the 59 F weather (15 C), she would've been pretty cold on her own. Luckily, Max was there to keep her warm.
The search for Aurora continued at sunrise, with about 100 police, members of the State Emergency Services (SES) and volunteers combing the land.
Bennett heard some faint cries coming from the mountain about 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) from the house around 8 a.m.
"When I heard her yell 'Grammy' I knew it was her," Bennett told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News. "I shot up the mountain ... and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her."
Aurora had only minor cuts and scratches from her 15-hour adventure. An impressive feat, according to SES controller Ian Philips.
"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," he told ABC News.
"The search was actually quite hard where the volunteers and the police were, amongst the very steep slopes full of lantana and other vegetation."
Aurora seemed to be in fine spirits when she was found, having successfully slept and kept warm thanks to the comforting presence of Max. It wasn't until her grandmother found her that she became a bit stressed.
"I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were," Bennett said.
Max, meanwhile, was made an honorary police dog by the Queensland police due his loyalty and steadfastness.
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