Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Heroically Rescuing Owner, Dog Gets Huge Award from Nation


Three years ago, a family in South Korea took in a small white dog that had been attacked by a much larger dog. They had no idea when they took him in that years later, he would pay them back for their kindness.

The dog, whose name is Baekgu, is 4 years old and has become South Korea’s first “honorary rescue dog,” a title he earned for his actions that took place last month.

Kim, the pup’s 90-year-old owner, struggles with dementia. On the morning of Aug. 25, she wandered off with Baekgu by her side from their home in Hongseong County.

Footage obtained from a nearby property showed the elderly woman and her faithful pup leaving the village.

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According to The Korea Times, Kim’s daughter Shim Geum-sun had been trying to contact her mother for hours without success. She eventually contacted authorities and filed a missing person report.

For hours, the fire department and volunteers scoured the area for any sign of the elderly woman, but it wasn’t until the next afternoon, 40 hours since Kim had left, that a thermal drone picked up a small heat signature.

They’d found Baekgu — and as they moved toward him, through a rice field that had hidden him from view, they realized he was still with his owner.

Kim was alive, but suffering from hypothermia. Her temperature was so low that it hadn’t even been recognized by the drone.

She’d fallen in the water about 1.3 miles from her home and been unable to get up. The only thing keeping her alive was little Baekgu, who kept her warm with his body.

While Kim is in the hospital recovering from her ordeal, Baekgu is enjoying all the amenities that come with being recognized as a local hero.

On Monday, a ceremony was held in the little dog’s honor, and he was officially named an honorary rescue dog — a title that has only just been approved, along with honorary fire ambassadors and honorary firefighters.

Baekgu was decked out in flowers, presented with a special doggy cake and received a fancy new doghouse.

“Baekgu was an abandoned dog and became part of our family when we saved him from attacks by another dog three years ago,” Shim said. “I am really thankful.”

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“Baekgu especially liked my mother, and it’s as if Baekgu returned our favor,” she continued, according to CNN. “I was so concerned as mom went missing for hours due to the rainy weather … I’m grateful and Baekgu is our family.”

Governor Yang Seung-jo also recognized the canine good Samaritan: “At a difficult time due to COVID-19, Baekgu created an unbelievable miracle and moved everyone.”

Police confirmed that if the loyal dog had not stayed with Kim, she likely would have died. No doubt the family is glad that he came into their lives three years ago.

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