Texas' Sherry Noppe, recently diagnosed with dementia, disappeared after taking her dog for a walk on May 3 in the Houston suburb of Katy. Thankfully, the 63-year-old was reunited with family just in time for Mother's Day after said black Labrador "saved her life," daughter Courtney Noppe tells the Washington Post. It was 3am Friday, three days after Sherry Noppe had set out with Max, when deputies and a group of volunteers, accompanied by a K9, heard barks coming from the woods within a 7,800-acre park. It was not far from where the pair were last seen on a surveillance camera, police said in a Friday statement. They followed the barks to find Max, who the Post reports "never left Noppe's side."
Noppe was huddled up with the dog several hundred yards into a "super thick" part of the woods, a family friend who was among the rescue group tells KHOU. "You can walk 50 feet in there and get turned around," the man says. Noppe, who reportedly knew the park's trails well, "wasn't severely disoriented ... but definitely lost," he adds. "[She] didn't know what to do." Max apparently did. "He's our hero," her son, Justin Noppe, tells the Post. "That dog had no leash, no collar, and stayed by her side for three days," he adds, per KHOU. "That just shows you the loyalty the dog has."
Sherry Noppe was treated at a hospital for dehydration but was uninjured apart from some cuts and bruises. "It's a small miracle that she's alive after being missing for so long," Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap says in a statement, per the Houston Chronicle. Justin Noppe adds the family is not only grateful to have been reunited his mother but also with Max. He belonged to the siblings' brother, who died two years ago. "He's the last thing that we really have of him. To get them both back is a silver lining," he tells KHOU. Max (see a photo here) was deemed to be healthy at a veterinary office, where he was also given a much-needed bath. (Read more uplifting news stories.)