Most of us know that a dog is known as a “man’s best friend.” Their loyalty and unconditional love are what truly makes them the best pet around. As for Adam and Donya DeLuca, they know first hand the benefits of having a dog, especially when their German Shepherd, Haus, saved their young daughter’s life.
Haus was rescued by the DeLucas from a Florida animal shelter—they hoped he would be the perfect companion for their family, especially for their 7-year-old daughter, Molly. They got more than what they bargained for — in a good way.
“He just bonded with all of us so quickly; it was like he was always part of our home,” Donya told TODAY.
It wasn’t until one day Haus was put to the test. Molly was playing in the backyard with Haus right by her side. As she was gathering her toys, Molly’s grandmother was watching from the back door and soon noticed Haus began to act very differently. It caused immense terror for the grandmother.
“He kept jumping back and then forward,” Donya said. “And he did it three times.”
The grandmother was extremely concerned because the large dog was acting aggressively around her small granddaughter. Then “all of a sudden there was all this blood” covering Haus. Immediately, the grandmother called for Donya, and they ran in a panic worried that Haus had bit their sweet Molly.
To their surprise, Haus did not bite Molly. He actually saved her life. Molly and Haus had come face-to-face with an extremely dangerous Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake.
As the rattlesnake lunged at the young girl, Haus intercepted the bite only to be bitten himself. Rather than running away, Haus took, in other words, a bullet for Molly.
“He instantly positioned himself between the snake and Molly,” Donya said.
Haus received several bites from the snake and began to feel the venom seep into his body. He could barely walk back into the house, and his body began to go limp with drool coming from his mouth. Haus began to struggle to get air — he could barely breathe. Soon, he could not get up and suffered hemorrhaged blood in his leg. Imagine if Molly had gotten bitten?
Donya rushed Haus to their local veterinarian hospital in hopes she had enough time to save his life.
“What [a rattlesnake bite] can do is a lot of bad things,” veterinarian Danielle Pollio said. “It can cause problems with clotting, so they can bleed into the wound uncontrollably.”
According to Dr. Michael Schaer, DVM, and Professor of Veterinary Internal Medicine at the University of Florida, Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes are one of the deadliest snakes in the United States. Dogs who are infected by the venom have a mortality rate of 20 percent. This rattlesnake bit Haus three times.
Haus was immediately hooked up to an IV drip with antivenin. In most cases, vials of antivenom are prescribed, but for Haus and his life-threatening condition, he was in need of an IV. Haus stayed at the hospital for several days. He received antivenom vials four times a day for four days.
As the days kept going on, Donya kept seeing the neverending vet bill. Will Haus ever get better? When all is said and done, what will the cost look like? Do they save their daughter’s hero?
A woman named Cherissa Vandergriff decided to help. She set up a GoFundMe account asking for anyone to help with the DeLucas’ vet bills. At this time, the vet bills were already at $10,000. Cherissa pleaded for help. Soon, donations came flooding in. After just a few days, the family had received over $51,000. Their goal was $28,000. The family had to ask that no one continue to donate and turned off their acceptance of money.
“What keeps me going is how he still flicks his tail every time he sees me come into his kennel, even though I know he’s hurting,” Donya said.
Fortunately, Haus recovered and is home with his family. The dog sure does love his family, especially his sweet, little Molly. Do you think this dog is a hero? Share this wonderful story with your friends!