Firefighters in Poland are claiming that a dog helped save a 3-year-old girl who vanished from her home in the southwestern village of Pierzwin and wandered into a nearby forest, according to the BBC. A 200-person search group formed to look for the girl, named Julia, whose parents last saw her playing in the backyard with the family's small black dog.
The girl was eventually found lying in a marsh with the dog by her side on Saturday morning, the BBC reports. "For the whole night the animal was with the girl, it never left her. Remember, it was 5 degrees [23 degrees Fahrenheit] below zero and the child was wet," local firefighter Grzegorz Szymanski said, adding that the dog helped keep the girl alive in the freezing temperatures.
The dog, who Julia's grandmother says is her best friend, barked as rescue workers got closer, according to Reuters.
"This dog is the most important part of the story. He is a hero," Szymanski told Reuters. "It is thanks to this dog that the girl survived the night."
Russian news network Ria Novosti reports that Julia was taken to a hospital in Zielona Gora. She has suffered some frostbite, but her condition is not life-threatening.
Tales of animal heroism are not uncommon.
A 10-year-old pit bull named Baby rescued her Oklahoma family along with the family's dogs during a fire last month. The dog barked and jumped on the homeowners as flames erupted and smoke filled the house, local station KOCO reported. After the family got out, Baby ran back inside to rescue the family's five other dogs.
In November, a 7-month-old puppy pushed a young boy out the way of an oncoming truck in England and took the impact himself. The dog sustained a broken leg, a broken spine and internal injuries after being hit, but was expected to make a full recovery.
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