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5 tales of amazing dog heroics

By CNN Staff
updated 5:15 PM EST, Mon December 9, 2013
  • In the past year and a half, there have been several prominent stories of canine heroes
  • One sacrificed his eye to save a young girl from a venomous rattlesnake
  • Another alerted a couple that their newborn baby had stopped breathing

(CNN) -- Young Maya Delarosa was making mud pies with her sister when she made a frightening discovery.

"I hear a hiss and a rattle, and I look down and there's a snake," Maya recently told CNN affiliate KTSM in Hueco Tanks, Texas.

The snake was curled up and ready to strike, but that's when Maya's dog, Psycho, leapt into action.

The 10-pound Chihuahua-poodle mix stepped in front of Maya and was bitten in the eyelid. He ultimately had to have his eye removed.

Maya's grandmother, Martha Rodriguez, was grateful for the dog's brave intervention.

"He saved her life. ... He's my hero," Rodriguez told KTSM.

Psycho is just one of several canine heroes that have been in the news since last year. Check out these other tales of amazing dog heroics:

Dog saves trainer from reckless car

A guide dog in training was credited for saving two people from an out-of-control car in San Rafael, California.

See dog save trainers from reckless car

Danielle Alvarado and Todd Jurek, trainers at Guide Dogs for the Blind, were working with, O'Neil, a yellow lab, when a car started barreling down the sidewalk in reverse.

The dramatic footage was caught on a local business' surveillance camera in June. O'Neil was able to alert Jurek just in time for Jurek to push the blindfolded Alvarado out of harm's way.

"I think the dog looked before I did," Jurek told CNN affiliate KGO.

Dog saves 2-year-old lost in the woods

A 2-year-old boy in South Carolina was missing for more than four hours last November, sending his family into a panic.

Dog saves 2-year-old lost in woods

But the family's devoted dog stayed by his side through the entire ordeal and eventually led him to safety.

Peyton Myrick had wandered into the woods outside Clover while his grandfather worked on a nearby tractor.

Peyton's father, Rich, was at a pediatrician's office with his other son when he heard the news. He raced home, and the doctor and staff came, too. Law enforcement officials and neighbors soon joined the search in the open countryside.

It was long past dark when neighbors eventually noticed Ashepoo, the family's Australian shepherd, near a barn. Nearby was Peyton, sleeping on his jacket unhurt and unfazed.

"It's relief like I've never felt. ... If a dog can be a hero, that dog's a hero," Rich Myrick told CNN affiliate WSOC.

Dog alerts family to newborn's distress

The Brousseau family knew something was wrong when their dog, Duke, jumped on their bed in the middle of the night, shaking uncontrollably.

Dog alerts family to newborn's distress

"He is insanely obedient, so this was extremely bizarre," Jenna Brousseau told CNN affiliate WFSB in Connecticut.

Brousseau and her husband got out of bed and went in to check in on their 9-week-old daughter, Harper.

Harper was not breathing in her bassinet.

The family called 911, and paramedics were able to revive Harper and take her to the hospital, where she later recovered.

Brousseau said Duke is a lifesaver.

"If Duke hadn't been so scared, we would have just gone to sleep," she said.

Golden retriever helps rescue brother

Dogs aren't only saving people. They're also saving other dogs.

Retriever helps rescue its brother

Penny Blackwell's two golden retrievers, Baxter and Bailey, were leashed together when they ran away last year in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Blackwell put up flyers and begged for help on Facebook, but she felt hopeless after two weeks with no news.

Then a friend sent her a text message saying, "I think I have one of your dogs." It was Baxter.

Baxter's next job: tracking down his brother. He led Blackwell through the woods and down a path, where Bailey was stuck with his leash wrapped around some bushes.

"I could hardly get him untied," Blackwell told CNN affiliate WBZ. "He was jumping all over me and jumping over Baxter, so happy to see us."

Blackwell thinks the two dogs were trapped together before Baxter broke free.

"Baxter's a hero for taking me there," she said.

Bonus cat hero! Man says cat helped save his life

Cats can be heroes, too.

Man says cat helped save his life

Rick Chap was having a heart attack last year when his cat, Buddy, alerted his wife that something was wrong.

"He was meowing and scratching and jumping and just trying to get my attention," Jennifer Chap told CNN affiliate WKMG in Orlando, Florida.

Chap picked up her cat and walked to the kitchen, where her husband was curled up near the counter going into cardiac arrest.

She pulled her husband out onto the floor and began performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

"I really owe my life to Buddy because without him, she would have never come out of that office," Rick Chap said.

Meet the top 10 CNN (human) Heroes of the Year

10 everyday people, 10 extraordinary acts

Part of complete coverage on
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updated 6:46 PM EST, Sun November 3, 2013
Dr. George Bwelle travels through Cameroon's jungles to provide free medical care for thousands.
updated 9:25 AM EDT, Mon October 21, 2013
Many Americans lack easy access to fresh, healthy food. That isn't acceptable to Robin Emmons.
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When Kakenya Ntaiya was 14, she negotiated a deal with her father: I'll endure female circumcision if you let me finish high school.
updated 11:00 AM EST, Mon November 18, 2013
Chad Pregracke has made it his life's mission to clean up the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways.
updated 3:41 PM EDT, Fri November 1, 2013
Estella Pyfrom noticed that fewer students had access to a computer after school. So she bought a bus and brought technology to the kids.
updated 7:39 PM EDT, Sun October 13, 2013
In many countries, mothers are dying during childbirth -- not because they lack skilled doctors, but because they lack reliable electricity.