Hero guide dog saves 62-year-old blind owner

Hero guide dog saves 62-year-old blind owner

When this guide dog saw an oncoming mini school bus heading towards its owner, the eight-year-old golden retriever's protective instinct kicked in.

Figo threw itself into the path of the bus to shield Ms Audrey Stone, 62, who is legally blind.

Police photos show the result of the incident which happened in Brewster, New York, on Monday: Fur stuck to the bus, which had come to a stop in the middle of road after hitting Ms Stone and Figo, Lower Hudson Valley news site LoHud.com reported.

The bus driver, who was ferrying kindergarten children to school, said he did not see the pair crossing the road.

But the dog saw the bus heading towards Ms Stone and leapt into action. It threw itself at the vehicle to protect its owner.

BROKEN LEG

Luckily, Figo escaped with only a broken front leg which is now in a splint, according to a staff member at a veterinary hospital nearby.

Ms Stone suffered a fractured right elbow, three broken ribs, a fractured ankle and a cut to her head, said Brewster police chief John Del Gardo.

"The dog's leg was cut down to the bone," said Mr Paul Schwartz, who manages a petrol station at the junction where the accident happened. He ran to the scene to help.

He told LoHud.com: "I don't know if (the driver) thought (Stone) was going to move faster, but it looks like the dog tried to take most of the hit for her.

"(Later) there were 15 emergency medical personnel and people all around her, and the dog didn't want to leave her side.

"He was flopping over to her and she didn't want him to get away from her, either. She kept screaming and asking about the dog.

"We kept telling her he was fine."

Mr Schwartz and one of the emergency staff bandaged the dog's right leg.

"The dog was being a good sport, really calm... He wasn't barking or crying or yelping.

"But he kept pulling towards her. After she was taken away, he stopped doing that. He seemed a little lost after she left."

Lying in a hospital bed, Ms Stone spoke about her companion of the past six years.

"He needs the Purple Heart from the President," Stone told USA Today with a laugh.

"He protects me, loves me and vice versa. We just have a strong connection."

The story of Ms Stone and Figo went viral, with news outlets scrambling to report on Figo's act of heroism.

Ms Stone, who has limited vision, said she does not remember much of the accident itself, but one image stays with her: a wounded Figo crawling to be by her side, holding up its injured right paw.

"I knew he was hurt and I was a mess. I looked like a war zone," USA Today quoted her as saying.

"I remember Figo standing there looking at me, trying to get close to me, but he didn't know what to do because he knew I was hurt."


This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
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