Pet dog saves life of toddler in freezing weather

by Leanne Thompson on February 22, 2010

amd_victoria_benschWe’re so used to stories in the media of how dogs have attacked children that it makes a refreshing change to see a story of how a dog saved the life of a toddler actually getting some media coverage. Three-year-old girl, Victoria Bensch, wandered away from her home in Arizona last week and spent 14 hours in the freezing cold, over night, in temperatures that reached below 30 degrees, before she was rescued.

Experts believe the girl would have died from hypothermia had it not been for the family dog, a Queensland Heeler named Blue.

Local news station, KPHO, reported that Victoria was eventually found the following morning over one kilometre from her home, huddling up to the family Queensland Heeler for warmth.

A rescue helicopter eventually found Victoria, and the heroic dog, in the mountains surrounding the town.

Sgt Jeff Newnum, from Yavapai County sheriff’s office, stated:

She was able to stay warm with the dog.

It’s probably what saved her life — it was extremely cold out here.

Dwight D’Evelyn, another sheriff involved in the rescue, added:

The dog kept her alert, warm and gave her companionship throughout a very cold night.

The dog was so protective of Victoria that he was even uneasy about the rescuers who came to help them, although when he realised that they were there to help he moved away and allowed them to tend to the frightened toddler.

Matthew Uhl, the pilot of the rescue helicopter, explained:

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

dog and toddlerUhl went on to add how the dog was protecting the toddler, but knew that they were there to help:

I think once the dog realized we were there to help them out, he was very excited.

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.

Blue may have even swayed one of the family’s sceptics when it comes to dogs, as Victoria’s aunt commented after she had been found safe and well:

We have to give a lot of credit to Blue.

He pretty much stayed with her all night.

I don’t even like animals and I hugged that dog so hard.

4 Comments »

  1. Lianne–that was a lovely blurb on the loyalty shown to Victoria Bensch by the family dog. However, the temperatures in the area were in the low 30s, not 30 below zero, as your piece states. Arizona is a place where retirees from northern climates like to flock for the winter months, but no one would want to spend a summer there, as it’s in the desert.

    Comment by Colleen — February 22, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  2. Thanks for that Colleen, we’ve corrected it now. We thought that sounded cold!

    Comment by Darren — February 22, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  3. Those heelers are great dogs. Ours in 18 years old still going strong.

    Comment by Liz — February 24, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  4. […] A dog kept a toddler alive in the cold by staying with her. […]

    Pingback by Weekend Update February 27, 2009 | Dog Spelled Forward — February 27, 2010 @ 3:52 am

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