A 4-year-old dog kept his 90-year-old owner with Alzheimer’s warm for 40 hours in the middle of a rice field in cold, rainy weather.
On October 8, Korea’s WOW Video channel posted on YouTube a report telling the story of Baekgu, a 4-year-old dog, who saved Mr. Kim, 90 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease living in Hongseong County, Korea.
The old woman’s children discovered that their mother left the house at 2:30 a.m. on August 25 with a small white dog. After searching around and not finding anything, they informed the authorities because they were worried about their mother’s life.
“At that time we thought that mother took Baekgu out to commit suicide,” Shim Geum-sun, Mr. Kim’s daughter, recalled. “Mom often told Baekgu that if she died, she would take Baekgu with her, because she was worried that no one would cook meat for him to eat.”
Police coordinated with firefighters and villagers to launch a search campaign for the old woman in the pouring rain. They searched the surrounding hilly area for 40 hours but to no avail.
Mr. Kim’s daughter suddenly remembered a livestock area quite far from home and asked the police to check that place. When reviewing the security cameras in the barn, they discovered the dog Baekgu passing by, followed by Mr. Kim.
Police deployed drones equipped with infrared cameras to search the surrounding area. They discovered infrared traces in the field near the livestock area and found the old woman.
Mr. Kim collapsed in a wet area, where the rice grew tall and dense, obscuring everyone’s view. He suffered from hypothermia, making it impossible for the infrared camera to detect, but they found him thanks to the Baekgu dog’s infrared image.
“Our infrared cameras could not detect Mr. Kim, but because Baekgu was right next to him, we were able to find him,” said a police officer participating in the search campaign.
Police said that Mr. Kim might not have survived without Baekgu. The little dog stayed with his owner throughout the rainy and windy period to keep him warm and barked loudly when the search team approached.
“When he was taken to the hospital, Mr. Kim’s body temperature dropped to 34.5 degrees Celsius. About 50% of people with hypothermia die,” said doctors at Hongseong Hospital. “A dog’s body temperature is about 2 degrees higher than a human’s, so when Baekgu kept him warm for two days, Mr. Kim was able to survive.”
Baekgu was honored as Korea’s first honorary rescue dog in early September thanks to his work in saving his owner’s life. “In the midst of difficult times because of Covid-19, Baekgu created an unbelievable miracle, touching everyone’s hearts,” Chung Nam Province Governor Yang Seung-jo said during the award ceremony.
Shim Geum-sun, Mr. Kim’s daughter, said the family adopted Baekgu three years ago when it was attacked by a larger dog.
“Baekgu loves my mother very much. His actions seem to repay our love,” Shim said. “I was very worried when my mother went missing for many hours in the rain. I am extremely grateful. Baekgu will always be a member of our family.”
The video about Baekgu’s story received nearly 437,000 views on YouTube and hundreds of comments. “What an inspirational dog. We should consider dogs as family members, because they will always help us,” Blue Sky account commented.