Labrador's Barks Helps Rescuers Locate Texas Woman Who'd Been Missing for 3 Days

Max and his human had been stranded in a Texas park for days when his barks finally led rescuers to them.

Close up of black lab with a red collar
Photo: Aurora Mendez / EyeEm / Getty

A loyal Labrador retriever likely saved his owner's life after they found themselves stranded without food in a Texas park for nearly three days in the heat and rain. Early Friday morning, however, Max's barks were enough for searchers to find them.

According to KHOU, Sherry Noppe was last seen on May 3 when she was walking Max near the 7,800-acre George Bush Park in Katy. The news station reported that Noppe had been diagnosed with dementia recently, but she knew the park's trails well.

Searchers frantically looked for them, even as storms moved through the Houston area Thursday evening. Thousands joined a Facebook page dedicated to the search for Noppe, and plenty of tips came in, too, KHOU reported.

Around 3 a.m. Friday, a K-9 officer—another hero in this story—picked up a scent, causing the searchers to power down their ATVs, the TV station reported. That's when they heard Max barking.

"And we knew when that dog barked—there should be no dogs out there—that was her," family friend Michael England told KHOU. "She wasn't severely disoriented or severely out of it, but definitely lost, and didn't know what to do."

Rescuers found Noppe about 100 yards away from the park's path, about 2 miles from her home. Her family told reporters after the rescue that other than scrapes, bruises, and dehydration, Noppe was doing well. A veterinarian checked out Max, who really needed a bath.

"With Max, that dog had no leash, no collar, and stayed by her side for three days," Justin Noppe, Sherry's son, told KHOU. "And that just shows you the loyalty the dog has."

For his heroic efforts, a pair of local fire departments named Max as an "official" fire dog and plan to honor him with a ceremony. Another reward for his job well done: a steak dinner.

"I feel like he's the community's hero," Courtney Noppe told the media.

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