By Zoe Sottile, CNN
Man’s — or in this case, woman’s — best friend came to the rescue of a missing Texas woman.
Sherry Noppe, 63, was announced missing by a constable in Harris County, on Instagram on May 4. She had last been seen walking her black Labrador, Max. Noppe had recently been diagnosed with dementia, according to Texas EquuSearch, which also participated in the rescue efforts.
Jeff McShan, public information officer for the county’s fifth precinct, told CNN hundreds of volunteers and officers took part in the search effort. They used an infrared drone camera to hone in on a specific area of the park where they thought there might be an animal or human. Once in the area, volunteers heard the barking of a dog, which led them to Noppe.
The precinct announced on Twitter May 6 Noppe had been found. “Constable Ted Heap is relieved to report Sherry Noppe, missing since Tuesday, has been found in George Bush Park,” the message read. The park, located in Houston, Texas, covers 7,800 acres.
“She was located at approx. 3 a.m. Friday by a group of tireless volunteers and deputies who were alerted by the sound of her dog, Max, barking in the woods.”
Max “saved her life,” family friend Michael England told CNN affiliate KTRK-TV.
The loyal dog stayed by Noppe’s side throughout the entire ordeal, even though he was not wearing a collar or leash when the pair were found, KTRK-TV reported.
Noppe was found lying in a “marshy area,” three miles from where she was last spotted. One of the deputies involved in the search lent Noppe his boots “as they helped her through the muck and brambles to get on our ATV and drive her back to safety,” according to an Instagram post from the constable.
On Twitter, Constable Heap lauded the efforts of the search team who followed Max’s barking to find Noppe.
“It’s a small miracle that she’s alive after being missing for so long,” said Heap, according to the tweet. Noppe was missing for around three days. “Thank you to @TexasEquuSearch along with the army of searchers who never gave up.”
Noppe and Max are now safe at home, according to McShan.
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