3-yr-old girl disappears into woods. 15 hrs later, rescuers shocked to see who’s by her side

This 3-year-old was happily playing, but the next moment, her parents found that she had disappeared. To make matters worse, their house is located near deep woods, and the temperatures often plummet overnight.

One afternoon, Victoria Bench, a 3-year-old adventurous little girl, suddenly disappeared from her family home in Cordes Lakes, Arizona. After an hour of searching for their toddler, Victoria’s parents called authorities to help search for their child. Also missing was the family dog, a Queensland heeler called Blue. He had been part of the family since Victoria was born, and was her best friend.

Teams of rescuers scoured the surrounding bush all night, calling out to her, as temperatures dropped. Victoria had disappeared wearing not much more than a T-shirt.

For nearly 15 hours, relatives and authorities searched for Victoria. A massive ground search ran throughout the night. The community bonded together, searching through the rough terrain on horseback, all-terrain vehicles, and using sniffer dogs. Then the unexpected happened.

DPS pilot Matthew Uhl and medic Eric Tarr spotted Victoria lying in a dry creek bed.

“She wasn’t moving when we first came upon her,” Uhl said. “She was kind of just looking face-down on the ground.”

But they also saw something that shocked them—her brave pet was lying over her body. Blue was so protective of her that even when the medics arrived, they were afraid they would be attacked. It was only after Victoria smiled and stood up that Blue visibly relaxed.

“I think once the dog realized we were there to help them out, he was very excited,” Uhl said. “He ran around while the medic tended to the little girl, and when it was time to go, he jumped right into the helicopter and was ready to go.”

“She was able to stay warm with the dog,” said Sgt. Jeff Newnum. “It’s probably one of the things that saved her life.”

“God’s watching over her,” Newnum said. “I just believe that. It’s the resolution we were all praying for.”

Victoria was taken by helicopter to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she was treated for mild frostbite.

And Blue is the hero in this happy ending. “We have to give a lot of credit to Blue,” Kim Rayfield, the girl’s aunt, said. “He pretty much stayed with her all night.”

Toddlers can have a mind of their own, and can be so quick to move that sometimes it can lead to tragedy. Happily, this time there was a great outcome due to one brave, furry friend!

Watch the video here:

Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot | SharksWhalesAnimals.

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