Pet dog ‘kept missing toddler safe’ in Australia

The grandmother of missing toddler Sophie with Poppy the dog. Image copyright ABC News
Image caption The family issued a statement thanking emergency services and said Poppy would be well fed

A pet dog is being credited with keeping a little girl safe after the pair wandered away from their family home and could not be found for hours.

Two-year-old Sophia set out across her family's property south-east of Melbourne at around 7:30pm on Tuesday.

The dog, a one-year-old Australian sheepdog named Poppy, went with her.

Police confirmed that Poppy's barking alerted rescuers to the whereabouts of the pair after a seven-hour search.

Rescuers found Sophia and Poppy 200m from a dam on the family's property.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. quoted Sophia's grandmother, Vera Cook, who credited the dog with saving the toddler's life.

She said that Sophia was wearing just a nappy and T-shirt when she wandered off.

"The only thing I was thinking was well, hopefully the dog would have kept her warm," Ms Cook was quoted as saying.

"If [the dog] wasn't with her, I don't know whether they would have found her."

The family issued a statement thanking emergency services and promising that Poppy would be "well fed this evening".

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