A dog saved the life of a girl in Poland after the toddler wandered away from her home in freezing temperatures and was lost overnight.
The three-year-old girl, Julia, went missing from her home on Friday. Her parents said she was playing in the backyard near a small black dog when she disappeared.
More than 200 people gathered for a rescue search, but the girl wasn’t found until the next day when her mother heard her cries in the forest, the UK’s Metro reported.
The girl wasn’t alone, though — a small dog was by her side, the same one she was playing with the day she went missing. Rescuers say it was actually the dog that saved the girl from the frigid conditions. It is believed that the girl wandered all night wandering around in the forest near her home, the BBC reported.
“For the whole night the animal was with the girl, it never left her,” said firefighter Grzegorz Szymanski, who added that without the dog the girl likely would have died. “Remember, it was 5 degrees below zero [Celsius] and the child was wet.”
The girl is still suffering from frostbite after staying out all night in temperatures that dipped down to 23F.
The news from Poland is reminiscent of another “dog saves girl” story from the United States last year. A female intruder broke into a home in Indianapolis in 2012 and threatened to kidnap an infant she found there, but the girl’s cries alerted the family pit bull.
The dog wouldn’t let the would-be kidnapper leave with infant, and the woman eventually threw the child back to her mother and ran away from the scene.
In Poland, rescuers had some high praise for the hero of their story, the little black mongrel who protected his three-year-old companion.
“This dog is the most important part of the story,” a firefighter said of the dog who saved the girl. “He is a hero.”