UPDATE: Max the blue heeler is in for a special treat tonight, after the 17-year-old dog protected his owner's granddaughter all night when she wandered from the family property.

Three-year-old Aurora Kyle went missing at 3pm yesterday, and spent all night huddled up with the partially-blind and deaf Max for warmth and comfort.

The girl's grandmother Leisa Bennett said rescuers and SES crews found Max first, who led them to Aurora.

Max's bravery and loyalty has been acknowledged by the Queensland Police Service online, who declared him an honorary police dog.

"He stayed with his three-year-old human last night whilst she was lost near Warwick. For keeping her safe until she was found, you're now an honorary police dog!" the Facebook post said today.

The girl suffered minor cuts but was otherwise fine.

Max the blue healer, who stayed with a three-year-old girl all night after she wandered away from the family property.
Max the blue healer, who stayed with a three-year-old girl all night after she wandered away from the family property. Queensland Police Service

 

EARLIER: A brave and "adventurous" three-year-old was found "covered in burs" in dense scrub on a mountain-top, where she spent the night with her grandfather's dog.

Aurora Kyle was found early this morning on a property in Wildash by her grandmother Leisa Bennett and her uncle, Jake Miller.

The toddler went missing at 3pm yesterday, prompting a massive search and rescue effort that involved helicopters, police, SES volunteers from as far as Goondiwindi, Indigenous trackers and members of the community, who all pitched in to help locate the young girl.

SAFE AND SOUND: The moment of relief when grandmother Leisa Bennett found her three-year-old granddaughter Aurora on top of a mountain, where she spent the night with a family dog.
SAFE AND SOUND: The moment of relief when grandmother Leisa Bennett found her three-year-old granddaughter Aurora on top of a mountain, where she spent the night with a family dog. Leisa Bennett

After a long and fruitless evening, police suspended the search of the property at 1am this morning.

"You're just there thinking she's out there somewhere in the dark, a three-year-old baby, it's so disheartening... your mind goes to all sorts of dark places," Ms Bennett said.

Needless to say, the family didn't get much sleep.

But relief washed over Ms Bennett early this morning, when she trekked up a mountain desperately hoping to find her young granddaughter.

"I thought I heard her calling out and I shot up the mountain," she said.

 

Leisa Bennett and Jake Miller in front of the mountain where they found three-year-old Aurora this morning.
Leisa Bennett and Jake Miller in front of the mountain where they found three-year-old Aurora this morning. Marian Faa

Aurora's uncle, Jake Miller was the first to spot the three-year-old with a family dog.

"It was a great relief when I found her, thankfully that old dog stayed the whole night with her," Mr Miller said.

"He didn't leave her side."

Ms Bennett said she found Aurora "scratched and covered in burs and smelling like the dog" that kept her company while she was lost.

Family members said Aurora was a little shocked and overwhelmed when she returned to the house, but came out unscathed with just a few scratches from the thick scrub.

Ambulance officers assessed Aurora before she was transported back to Warwick for a quiet day at home.

The entire family has expressed its gratitude for the support from people around the district, who dropped everything to come and help in the search.

"I would really like to thank the traditional owners," Mrs Bennett said.

"The skills and the knowledge of the Aboriginal trackers who came out and helped us look for Aurora was incredible. That's what helped us find her."



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