Thanks to the incredibly heroic actions of a physically impaired dog an Australian family has their three-year-old daughter back safe and sound, reports Fox News.

The backstory is a heart-warming story of survival and loyalty.

Every Parents Worst Nightmare

On a cool and rainy April 20 day in Queensland, Australia the Bennett family was enjoying the beginning of the weekend when Leisa Bennett noticed that her three-year-old granddaughter, Aurora, had could not be found in the house and in the immediate vicinity.

At 3 pm, the family reported her missing to the authorities. Also missing was the family’s 17-year-old Blue Heeler dog, named Max.

By the morning of April 21, over a 100 Emergency Service volunteers and law enforcement officials spread out across the area to find the girl who may have spent a cold, rainy night outdoors.

A Cry and Bark

Participating in the search was Leisa, who worked her way through the rugged terrain around the neighborhood.

As she approached the base of a low mountain, Leisa says she heard the voice of her granddaughter calling out from above. There was no way for Leisa to know exactly where Aurora was however.

That is until Max met Leisa as she began ascending the mountainside.

“I shot up the mountain … and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her,” Bennett is quoted as telling a local ABC station.

A Very Lucky Girl and a Loving Dog

For spending fifteen hours out in the wilderness during a chilled and damp night, Aurora only suffered minor cuts and abrasions but did not show any signs of hypothermia. That was probably due to Max.

“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,” SES area controller Ian Phipps told ABC.net.au.

“With the weather last night it’s quite lucky she is well because it was cold, it was cold and raining,” he added.

Deaf and partially blind, Max remained at Aurora’s side and kept her safe and warm until the two wanderers were reunited with family.

That reunion involved a lot of tears, cries of joy from the family and searchers and howls from Max.

Leisa told ABC, “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.”

For his steadfast loyalty to Aurora, Max has received an honorary police dog award.

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