Three days later, a 63 year-old woman with dementia went missing from a Texas park. Thanks to her loyal family dog and his constant barks, she was found.
Sherry Noppe took Max, her black Labrador retriever from Max, for a stroll around George Bush Park, a 3,600 hectare park in Katy Texas, on May 3.
The pair still hadn’t come home several hours later, and her husband and adult children started worrying—particularly because Sherry had recently been diagnosed with dementia.
They called the police and searched the area with a few relatives and friends that evening. The group drove through the park up to 3 a.m. and even broke locks to get down trails.
When they didn’t find her, the community quickly came together. Alpha Search and Recovery volunteers set up search dog teams, while Texas EquuSearch mounted their horses to explore the area. Sherry was found by thousands who volunteered their time.
May 5, Max was found by two search dogs. Searchers then picked up the scent from the dogs that evening. Hours later, as the volunteers approached a thickly wooded area in the park, they heard a dog bark—it was Max!
Finally, Max and Sherry were discovered in the wee hours on May 6.
Courtney, 34, Sherry’s younger daughter, got a call around three in the morning and was told their mother had been found.
“I asked if she was alive and asked, ‘Send me a picture.’” she said.
Courtney called her relatives after she received the photo.
“I was amazed at how strong she was. She wasn’t severely disoriented and out of it but definitely lost.… She didn’t know what to do,” saidMichael England, a friend from family, joined the search effort.
Sherry and Max both received medical care before the family came together to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Sherry’s other daughter, Jessica, 39, said that her mom is “doing great.”
“She had a bunch of cuts all over and she was suffering from dehydration, but at this point, she’s back to normal,” she said. “Everything’s healed up really well. She’s in good spirits.”
Max is doing well, with the exception of a scab on his nose and a small cut on his foot. These are both healing well. He slept almost the entire day after his return to safety.
“We feel like he was awake out there the entire time for three days — wide awake, protecting her,” Jessica said.
Max is described as a fun-loving, friendly, and energetic dog.
“He sees you and he’s like, ‘That’s my friend!’ — jumping on you to greet you,” Courtney said. “He loves everyone and everything.”
But during the ordeal, Max became Sherry’s brave and loyal protector. They were found in an area with many wild hogs, snakes, and other animals. Max never lost his guardianship despite being surrounded by heat and rain.
Max had a collar and leash on when they left, but they were gone when he returned. Max had every opportunity to leave, but he chose Sherry to stay the whole time.
After news of Max’s heroic deed spread, the community began showering him with cookies and treats.
“He is living his best life. He’s getting everything—tons of love, tons of treats, tons of toys,” Jessica said.
Max belonged to Sherry’s son, Andrew, who raised him since he was a puppy. Andrew died two-and-a-half years ago. His parents took Max in.
Justin, Sherry’s other son, said their mother “took my brother’s loss very difficult.” She leaned on Max and developed a special bond with him.
He stated that Max is the last thing Andrew has left of Andrew. So losing Max and their mother would have been devastating.
The Noppes are now even more mindful of Sherry’s condition, and they are thinking of ways to keep their mom safe in the future. They are happy to be together for now.
“Our mother would not be here if it were not for this whole community,” Courtney said in a press conference. “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all.”
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