Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VIDEO: Family dog saves toddler from drowning

A family dog is getting some big credit for saving a 14-month-old boy from drowning in Marcellus, Michigan. Patricia Drauch told the Cass County Sheriff's Department she walked into their backyard garage on Sunday afternoon to get a shovel to dig out some "prickly" plants in the backyard of her home. One moment, she said, her youngest son Stanley was walking along beside her; the next, he wasn't. Drauch immediately began to search for Stanley all over the backyard and soon found him in the family pool. "It was scary. His lips were blue. His eyes were rolled back," Drauch said. "It was the scariest feeling and the image stays in your head for a long time." At first, she said, it looked like Stanley was floating. But when she looked closer, she saw her son wasn't under the water.

The family dog Bear was in the pool, holding Stanley out of the water on his back. "[Bear] wouldn't move in the pool," she said. "He didn't bark. He didn't move. It was like he was afraid to move at all until I got Stanley up out of the pool and that's when [Bear] came up out of the pool with me. Bear was trying to keep Stanley up so he wouldn't die," said Stanley's brother Kyle Drauch, who is 7 and was there when his mother found Stanley in the water. Stanley was unresponsive when Drauch pulled him from the water. "He wasn't responding so my mind is going to the worst - that I was too late," said Drauch. She tried to call 911 for help, but said she heard a "beep" and the call wouldn't go through.

So she gathered up her sons and started to drive to the Marcellus Fire Department, which is about two miles from her house. While on the road she was able to get through to 911 on her cellphone. While Drauch was on the phone with 911 dispatchers, Stanley regained consciousness. "On the way, he barfed up a lot of water and then he started to respond, but she kept going and she was just a little over the speed limit," said Kyle. Drauch soon arrived at the fire department, where emergency personnel examined Stanley, who was conscious, alert and in good condition. He was taken to a Three Rivers hospital by his parents to be checked out, but was soon released. On Monday Stanley was well enough to play with Bear in the family's yard. Drauch said X-rays showed there wasn't any water in Stanley's lungs. She said that's because of Bear.

"I'd always told [Bear] since he was 4 weeks old that these are your babies, watch out," said Drauch. "He has big paws and they were little and I didn't want him to step on them, so it paid off teaching him to watch out for them." Cass County Undersheriff Rick Behnke said though there were no witnesses, but authorities did find vomit in the family car, which is consistent with what happens when water is ingested and then expelled. "From the information we have, it seems to pan out," Behnke said. "It's an amazing story. The dog is a lifesaver. That's all I can say." Behnke said this is the first time he's personally heard a story like this one happening in Cass County, but acknowledged that since hearing about it, other people have told him similar stories with different dogs. "If Bear wasn't out, I don't think Stanley would have made it," said Drauch. "He proved that he's got enough love for the kids he's more than just our hunting dog."

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