Service dog protects blind woman from school bus - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Service dog protects blind woman from school bus

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(CNN photo) (CNN photo)
BREWSTER, NY (CNN) -

A service dog stepped in front of a school bus to protect its blind owner.

Though both were hurt, the loyal dog stayed right by his owner's side until help arrived.

It happened Monday on Main Street in Brewster, NY.

The 8-year-old golden retriever is the companion and guide for Audrey Stone, a legally blind Brewster resident.

Stone said she knows Figo is something special.

"I thank him,” she said. “I thank God that I have him and that he survived too, and I love him."

Stone and Figo were crossing the street. According to police, Stone couldn't see danger approach, but Figo could. They said the dog immediately changed sides and threw itself in harm's way.

Police shared accident scene photos.

In them, the front tire of the bus and the pavement were covered in Figo's fur, which was stripped from the animal's front leg.

"It was very heartbreaking,” said Tina Pizzuro, an eyewitness. “Very heartbreaking."

Stone said Figo didn't yelp in pain, but calmly struggled to stay with her.

"You really can't touch an injured dog guarding someone,” said Chief John Del Gardo, Brewster police. “Touch them [and] they're aggressive. Not this dog."

"He was trying, even though he was so hurt,” said Paul Schwartz, an eyewitness. “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."

The dog didn't really stop struggling until paramedics took Stone away in an ambulance.

Figo was taken to a local vet who said the dog's behavior was remarkable, even for a service animal.

"I can't explain it,” said Dr. Louann Pfeifer, Middle Branch Veterinarians. “Whether he did that consciously or unconsciously, but it's pretty amazing.”

Stone said Figo was the third service dog she's had, and she's been fond of them all. However, Figo has given her extra incentive to get through hospital treatments and get back on her feet.

"I want to get home to my dog," she said.

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