Korea has acknowledged a dog named Baekgu who contributed a huge help in finding a missing woman with dementia, giving it a title as the first honorary 119 rescue dog.
Baekgu was recognized on Monday, the South Chungcheong Provincial Government and emergency officials said, after it played an important role in helping rescuers locate its 93-year-old owner last August 25.
The elderly woman’s daughter, surnamed Shim, reported her mother as missing after she could not contact her for hours. The woman was caught in the CCTV as she left the village at dawn. For about a couple of days, however, the search operations failed to find her.
Baekgu never left its owner, who fell unconscious in a field. It stayed by the old woman’s side even during the rain.
It helped rescue workers find the woman’s location as the dog’s body temperature was detected by a drone equipped with a thermal camera.
The woman was in the identified location and was able to be saved by rescuers who rushed her to the hospital.
According to the rescuers, the old woman’s body temperature went low since it was raining thus, she was not detected by the drone. She is currently seeking treatment in the hospital for hypothermia.
“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. “I am really thankful; it seems he returned our favor.”
South Chungcheong Province Governor Yang Seung-jo also expressed his gratitude for the dog for what he called an “incredible miracle”, The Korea Times reported.
Animals are allowed to become honorary rescue ambassadors for saving people’s lives through the regulations enacted by the National Fire Agency last April.