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Dog remains beside missing woman with dementia and leads rescuers to her: "He was wide awake, protecting her"

Dog remains beside missing woman with dementia and leads rescuers to her: "He was wide awake, protecting her"

63-year-old Sherry Noppe, who had recently been diagnosed with dementia, had set out for an afternoon walk on May 3 with her three-year-old black Labrador retriever, Max. 

Thanks to a good boy, a family was reunited with their mom who lost her way. 63-year-old Sherry Noppe, who had recently been diagnosed with dementia, had set out for an afternoon walk on May 3 with her three-year-old black Labrador retriever, Max. 

The Katy, Texas resident became lost and didn't return home that day leaving her husband and children extremely worried. The family immediately contacted law enforcement, praying that they are able to bring her back safely. 

As word got out, members of the community came forward to help with the search and rescue mission. The Alpha Search and Recovery had also sent their dog teams to comb the area alongside volunteers from the Texas EquuSearch who were on horseback. 



 

Two days had passed by but there was no sign of Noppe or her pup. But then on May 5, two search dogs alerted officers of the woman's scent. And as they approached the direction, searchers heard the barks of a dog coming from a thickly wooded area in George Bush Park in Houston hours later in the day. It was Noppe's dog Max.

Recalling the moment they received word of their mother's location, Noppe's daughter Courtney told TODAY, "Someone that was out there called me around three in the morning and said that they had found her asked if she was alive and asked, 'Send me a picture.'"

She quickly identified her mom who was found several hundreds of yards into the woods, which was a "super thick" and "marshy" area where anyone could easily get lost. Michael England, a family friend to part took in the search told KHOU, "You can walk 50 feet in there and get turned around."



 

Max and Noppe were provided medical care at the scene and eventually reunited with their family just in time for Mother's Day. Providing an update on Noppe's health, her daughter Jessica said, "My mom is doing great. She had a bunch of cuts all over and she was suffering from dehydration, but at this point, she's back to normal. Everything's healed up really well. She's in good spirits."

Jessica mentioned that her mom's savior was also doing well. "He [Max] just has a little bit of a scab around his nose, and he had a cut on his foot that's healing up well," she said adding that the pooch slept an entire day after reaching home. Now the area where Noppe was found is frequented by snakes and wild hogs but thanks to Max, she was well protected.



 

"We feel like he was awake out there the entire time for three days—wide awake, protecting her. When they left, he had a leash and collar on. And when they came back, his leash and collar were both gone. So, he stayed with her the whole time with no leash and no collar on," revealed Jessica. 

Their furry "goofball" is more than just a dog, he is a reminder of one of Noppe's sons who tragically died in 2019. "My parents inherited him as the last thing that they had from their son. We're barely still trying to get over my brother. So, to lose not just my brother, but then, a couple years later, my mom and then the only thing we had left of my brother would've been devastating to our family" shared Jessica.

Meanwhile, Courtney believes that this "miracle" was possible because "My brother was watching over all of us to make sure both her and Max came home to us."

Cover image source: Twitter | Harris County Pct 5

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