Dog Saves Owner’s Life by Keeping Him Warm and Calling for Help featured image

A Michigan man is thanking his dog for his life after being saved from what should have been a fatal situation. The man, known only as Bob, ventured out of his farmhouse on New Year’s Eve to collect firewood. Though it was only about 24° Fahrenheit outside, Bob thought his trip would be quick and only donned a shirt, long johns, and slippers.

His trip inside was halted, however, when he slipped and fell, breaking his neck. Bob says he screamed for help, but the nearest neighbor lives a quarter of a mile away and it was 10:30PM.

Luckily, his dog heard him and came to the rescue.

Kelsey, a five-year-old Golden Retriever, ran to Bob and laid on top of him to keep him warm. She also kept him conscious by licking his hands and face.

Dog Saves Owner’s Life by Keeping Him Warm and Calling for Help
Photo: Independent / McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital

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Bob says she kept barking for help, but refused to leave his side in order to keep him warm and alert. By morning, Bob had no voice left to yell with. But Kelsey wouldn’t stop barking.

According to Bob, she produced a screeching howl that eventually got the neighbor’s attention. The neighbor arrived at around 6:30PM on New Year’s Day and immediately called emergency services.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Bob was hypothermic. His core temperature was below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees, and hypothermia sets in any point after dropping below 95 degrees. Surprisingly, he didn’t even have frostbite, and attributes it directly to Kelsey’s determination to keep him warm.

Bob’s spinal cord injuries were also causing paralysis to his legs. Doctors quickly went to work, and were surprised at how quickly he recovered from his neck injury. His neurosurgeon at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital reported that Bob began to move his extremities with greater strength just after his surgery, and called it miraculous.

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Dog Saves Owner’s Life by Keeping Him Warm and Calling for Help
Photo: Petoskey News

Chaim Colen, MD, explained that most people do not move after suffering spinal cord injuries. He wasn’t sure if the cold temperatures or Bob’s positioning helped him, but said he believes Kelsey kept Bob alive and really helped him. He said Bob was very fortunate.

Bob’s daughter Jenny explained that Bob and Kelsey are inseparable. When Jenny arrived at the house to visit the dog, she saw that Kelsey had brought any clothing of Bob’s she could find to the living room, and made a nest out of it. She rejoiced in Kelsey’s love for Bob, and became emotional when she saw the sight.

Jenny brought Kelsey to the hospital to visit, and received a big hug from the doctor upon arrival.

Jenny explained that Bob adopted Kelsey when she was 6 months old. She was supposed to be used for breeding, but Jenny is happy to report that the dog found bigger purpose in this life than having babies for the rest of her life for a breeder. It seems that Kelsey is very grateful for the life Bob has given her, and has repaid his kindness tenfold in her act of heroism and devotion.

Though Bob still needs to complete extensive physiotherapy to regain his strength and limb functioning, he is expected to make a full recovery. He thanks his two heroes, his dog and his doctor, for being alive and well today.

Cody has worked and volunteered with rescue animals her entire life. She worked as a veterinary assistant and technician in shelters, rescues, boarding facilities, doggy daycares and animal hospitals in New York and Chicago throughout her teens and twenties, and now resides as a pet foster mom in Upstate New York.