South Korea’s first honorary rescue dog saved 90-year-old owner by laying next to her for 40 hours in freezing rain

Baekgu the dog

When an elderly woman with dementia went missing in South Korea, leading to a team of police, firefighters and volunteers to search the area, it was Baekgu the dog that saved the day. In acknowledgement of his noble deed, the 4-year-old dog has been appointed as the country’s first honorary rescue dog. 

The search: Baekgu’s owner, a 90-year-old woman, was reported missing on Aug. 25, according to CNN. Security footage from a local farm showed her leaving her village with a small white dog. 

  • A search party set out to find the woman as rain began to fall heavily from the skies.
  • The search lasted nearly 40 hours until the woman was found collapsed in the center of a wet rice field, the tall plants obscuring her from view.  

The heroism: On Monday, police credited the woman’s survival to her faithful four-legged friend. 

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  • Baekgu was said to have stayed by her side during the whole incident even as the weather grew harsher and colder throughout the night.  
  • His company kept her body temperature up as signs of hypothermia crept in.
  • He also helped aid the rescue effort, as a thermal drone sent to find the woman failed to detect her thermal signature but picked up on his. The older woman’s temperature was too low to be detectable amid the pouring rain.
  • Baekgu was awarded for his efforts on Monday as the woman continues to recover in a hospital. 

The origin story: As it turns out, Baekgu the rescue dog is a rescue himself. 

  • Shim Geum-sun, the 90-year-old woman’s daughter, said they adopted him three years ago after another larger dog had attacked him.
  • “Baekgu was an abandoned dog and became part of our family when we saved him from attacks by another dog three years ago,” said Shim, according to The Korea Times. “I am really thankful; it seems he returned our favor.”

In April, South Korea’s National Fire Agency passed a new regulation that would honor rescue animals that play a role in saving the lives of their humans. 

Featured Image via SBS 뉴스

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