This Older Dog Loyally Protected His Toddler Friend
by Bethany Meissner
Three-year-old Aurora went missing one Friday afternoon with her dog, Max. According to The Weekend Australian, Max is 17, dear, and partially blind. Aurora had wandered off in a rural, bushland area of Queensland, Australia where there were woods, difficult terrain, hills, and -- on that evening -- rain. By the time darkness fell that night, no one had seen even a hint of the little girl. At dawn on Saturday, over 100 State Emergency Services volunteers, police, and other helpful neighbors were again searching.
Thankfully, at 8:00 a.m., more than 15 hours after Aurora had gone missing, she was found safe, though smelling of dog, with Max loyally by her side. Temperatures that night had dropped to the 50s Fahrenheit – an uncomfortably chilly temperature for an overnight sleep out, especially combined with the rain that night! Max had kept Aurora warm and safe overnight.
Although they were found only 2 kilometers from the house (about 1.25 miles) it was a long distance for the little girl and the senior dog to have ambled. According to Aurora’s grandmother’s partner, Kelly Benston, Aurora had managed to not only go down into a valley, but then had gone “up the face of a small mountain” before stopping to sleep for the night! The little girl was unharmed by the unexpected night outdoors, although she had a few scratches from the bush.
Max not only kept Aurora safe that night, but helped searchers find her in the morning. Leisa Marie Bennet, Aurora’s grandmother, was searching Saturday morning when she faintly heard Aurora. She started looking in the direction that she had heard her granddaughter, but it was Max who she first spotted. Leisa told reporters, “the dog came to me and led me straight to her.” The loyal Blue Heeler led the worried grandmother right to Aurora! Kelly told reporters, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that Leisa “found the dog first. Max led her to Aurora.” Jake Miller, Aurora’s uncle, said “I’m just glad the dog didn’t just leave her.” We’re glad, too, that Max exemplified the best aspect of his species and why people love dogs so much. We believe that every animal in our lives carries a halo. We think it shines brightest when nurtured in a genuine human-animal bond like that between Max and Aurora.
Inspector Craig Berry, of the Queensland Police, said at the time that “it was quite an amazing event.” Afterward, the Queensland Police tweeted about Max saying “For keeping her safe, you’re now an honorary police dog.” Well, the Queensland Police decided to follow up on that tweet and actually make Max Queensland’s first honorary police dog on May 1! They visited Max and gave him a special collar and medallion, as well as a lot of pets. Afterward they tweeted that Max is “STILL SUCH A GOOD BOY!” We can’t help but agree. Max has definitely made his halo shine bright.