Deaf and nearly blind dog stays with 3-year-old girl overnight, leads rescuers to her

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QUEENSLAND, Australia — A 17-year-old blue heeler in Australia is being hailed a hero after staying by the side of a 3-year-old girl who had been missing for more than 15 hours in the wilderness, according to

Aurora went missing about 3 p.m. Friday. After several hours without luck, the search party decided to stop for the night.

“It was really disheartening when everybody left,” said Leisa Bennett, Aurora’s grandmother. “We were standing in the darkness knowing a 3-year-old was out in the cold.

“It wasn’t a situation where we could go home and sleep in our warm blankets knowing she was out here.”

They continued looking Saturday morning, but the rugged terrain was difficult to navigate.

“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,” State Emergency Services Area Controller Ian Phipps told ABC.

About 8 a.m., Bennett heard the girl’s voice from the top of the mountain and found Max. They were roughly 1.2 miles from the house.

“When I heard her yell ‘Granby,’ I knew it was her,” Bennett said. “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.”

Now, the dog is being called a hero and has been named an honorary police dog.

“The child had been out in the elements all night with the only company of an elderly, blind, half-deaf dog,” said Queensland police inspector Craig Berry. “It was quite an amazing event, and a fantastic outcome.”

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