An elderly dog called Max helped save a little girl's life in Queensland over the weekend. Aurora, who is only three, was reported as missing after walking away from her family and into rugged bushland at 3pm in Queensland's Southern Downs on Friday. Emergency services were quickly on the scene and scrambled to look for the toddler for some 15 hours through the woodlands and hills in difficult wet weather until Max led them to her at 8am on Saturday morning. Max, who is deaf and partially blind, had accompanied the little girl on her adventure and stuck with her all night so she wasn't alone before meeting the emergency services and showing them how to find her the next day.
Leisa Bennett, Aurora's grandmother, is said to have heard the little girl faintly from the top of a mountain on Saturday morning and went to look for her only to discover Max, who led her straight to Aurora. SES area controller Ian Phipps spoke to confirm that Aurora and Max were spotted two kilometres from the house, still on the family property at Cherry Gulley, 30 kilometres south of Warwick: "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. 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's grandmother explained that the experience was emotional, and that the toddler hasn't full grasped how lucky an escape she had: "When I heard her yell 'Grammy' I knew it was her. 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. I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were. 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." Aurora apparently suffered minor cuts and bruises, but is otherwise perfectly fine, and Max has been made an honorary police dog for being so brave! We love a happy ending.