BREWSTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A service dog is being hailed a hero after he literally threw himself in front of an oncoming mini bus to protect his blind owner in Putnam County.
The golden retriever, Figo, and his owner, Audrey Stone, 62, were crossing the street in Brewster on Monday when Figo saw the bus coming toward them, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.
Figo then moved from Stone’s right side to the left putting himself in harm’s way, Young reported.
As Stone lay injured on the ground, Brewster Police Chief John Del Gardo said despite having a severe leg injury, Figo would not leave Stone’s side.
Amazingly, Figo didn’t yelp in pain but calmly struggled to stay with Stone.
“The dog did not want to leave the side of the woman at all…it was the same thing with her, she did not want to leave the dog’s side,” Del Gardo said. “She was very, very concerned about the dog. My officers that were there and the Fire Department assured her everything would be fine.”
“You really can’t touch an injured dog guarding someone. Touch them — they’re aggressive. Not this dog,” said Del Gardo. “I’ve seen service dogs in action, they really are a working wonder.”
“Even though he was hurt so badly, he was only on three legs at that time, he was still trying to get to the blind woman as much as he could,” said witness Paul Schwartz.
The dog didn’t stop struggling until paramedics took Stone away in an ambulance.
Stone suffered a fractured elbow and ankle and broken ribs.
Figo’s right leg was cut down to the bone, police said.
Both are expected to be OK, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
Figo was taken to a local vet who said his behavior is remarkable even for a service animal, Young reported.
“I can’t explain it. Whether he did that consciously or unconsciously, it’s pretty amazing,” said Dr. Louann Pfeifer.
“I thank him. I thank God that I have him and that he survived too. I love him,” said Stone.
This is the third service dog Stone has had and she’s been fond of them all. But this one is providing extra incentive for her to get past her hospital treatment and on her feet, Young reported.
“I want to get home to my dog,” said Stone.
Once again, Figo to the rescue.
The bus driver told police he didn’t see the pair crossing the road. He was transporting two kindergartners. They weren’t hurt.
The bus driver was given a summons for not yielding, Schuck reported.