Preschooler and pup lost overnight in WA’s stormy Pilbara found grubby but safe

Posted in Preschool.

It’s the good news story that we all want to end the week on, tiny Matilda Moule found safe and sound after going missing from her remote station home in regional WA.

Wandering Matilda

Western Australian Police have just shared Matilda’s story on their Facebook page and it’s a brilliant tale of two best friends facing the odds together and coming up trumps.

“Around 2.30pm yesterday (15 January 2020), three-year-old Matilda, accompanied by her pet Jack Russell dog, wandered off from her home on Noreena Downs Homestead which is approximately 70 kms from Nullagine,” WA Police explained.

They noted that there had been grave fears for the little girl as the weather had taken a turn for the worse.

“The area has been inundated with heavy rain in recent days, which has led to a number of the creeks surrounding the property being full of water,” a police spokesperson said.

The adventurous 3-year-old and her pup trekked miles from home, understandably much to the concern of her family, police, the SES and others in her vast and very remote East Pilbara community.

“Matilda was able to make her way through one of these creeks while the water had subsided. However, due to the heavy rainfall, the creek quickly rose again trapping Matilda and her dog,” WA Police explained.

“The Pilbara community immediately swung into action and came to the assistance of Matilda’s family, providing local helicopters and SES volunteers. The Newman Horse Riders Association also supplied seven horses with riders. The community and police worked quickly and tirelessly in the search for little Matilda.”

3.5kms from home overnight in bad weather

Their dedication paid off because despite their worst fears Matilda was located, a little the worse for wear and muddy, but otherwise completely unharmed.

“After nearly 24 hours of being alone and without shelter, Matilda was spotted by a helicopter walking around 3.5kms south of the homestead. Her faithful Jack Russell dog was by her side, still protecting her.”

Hooray! What an excellent effort by the search party. And what a clever girl Matilda is, knowing not to try crossing the swollen river. 

“Happily, Matilda and her dog have now been returned to her family,” WA Police happily concluded this story – one that could have ended very differently.

Around 2.30pm yesterday (15 January 2020), three-year-old Matilda, accompanied by her pet Jack Russell dog, wandered off…

Posted by Western Australia Police Force on Thursday, January 16, 2020

“A free spirit”

While some on Facebook were quick to judge Matilda’s wandering as the result of “bad parenting” WA’s top Pilbara cop rejected this.

“Matilda, she’s a young station girl growing up on the station. I’m sure she’s a free spirit and her backyard is probably millions of acres,” WA Police’s Pilbara District Superintendent Kim Massam told WA Today.

“That little puppy stayed with her that whole time, alongside her through what was an unsheltered evening where Matilda spent the night alone,” District Superintendent Massam said.

“As a new person to the Pilbara it just excites me that we have this strength to come together in the times of need. I saw it today and it’s just amazing.”

What a good boy!

Facebook commenters were almost as thrilled with this outcome as Matilda’s family and those who had searched for her. They particularly loved the pup’s hero role.

“Someone give the little dawggie a treat! Good dog staying with her,” one posted.

“This is true Australia, people helping when needed to anyone who needs it,” another wrote. “Great country, well done to all those that rallied around to help this family and any other person in need.”

“WOW, so glad she was found safe, brought tears to my eyes,” someone else commented. “My sister did similar at that age was found 5kms away with our Airedale dog. Happens so quick. So glad for mum and dad that she’s safe. Awsome effort everyone that helped. Big hug for the dog.”

“Amazing! Jack Russels, best dogs for kids ever! We had them to protect our kids from snakes in South Africa.”


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