One New Year’s Eve, in the dead of winter in Northern Michigan, a man took a nasty fall and broke his neck outside his rural home. Luckily, his faithful golden retriever stayed by his side throughout the entire 20-hour ordeal and helped save his life!
It was New Year’s Eve in 2016, and a Northern Michigan man, known to us only by his first name, Bob, was watching a football game and waiting to watch the ball drop to signal the start of the new year. At around 10:30 p.m., wearing only long johns, slippers, and a shirt, he ran outside of his farmhouse during a commercial break to collect some wood for the fireplace.
All of a sudden, the 64-year-old man slipped on the icy steps and crashed to the snow-covered, frozen ground, breaking his neck in the process. Besides his elbows, he couldn’t move an inch.
Lying paralyzed in the snow, Bob screamed for help, hoping to get the attention of his closest neighbors, who live a quarter mile away.
Unfortunately, his neighbors couldn’t hear his calls. His best friend Kelsey the golden retriever, however, heard and came to his rescue.
Kelsey kept barking throughout the night as temperatures dipped below -4 degrees Celcius (24 degrees F). In an attempt to keep her owner warm and awake, the 70-pound golden retriever laid her body on top of Bob and repeatedly licked his face and hands.
“She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive,” said Bob in a statement released by McLaren Hospital.
“By morning, my voice was gone and I couldn’t yell for help, but Kelsey didn’t stop barking,” Bob said.
Eventually, after 19 long hours, Bob lost consciousness. Luckily for him, an hour later, at 6.30 p.m. on New Year’s Day, a neighbor found him lying unconscious on the ground.
“He has marks on his arms from her pawing at him when he was losing consciousness,” Bob’s daughter Jenny told TODAY.
Emergency crews arrived and rushed Bob to the McLaren Northern Michigan Emergency Department, where he was treated for hypothermia and irregular heart rhythm.
“I was surprised to find out that I didn’t have any frostbite,” Bob said. “I am sure it was because of Kelsey’s determination.”
Bob had surgery to repair two herniated discs in his neck, which compressed his spinal cord and caused paralysis in his legs. After that, he was no longer paralyzed.
Though Bob still needed hours of physical therapy to regain full strength; nonetheless, he is alive all thanks to his heroes—Kelsey and Dr. Chaim Colen. “Kelsey kept me warm, alert, and never stopped barking for help. Dr. Colen saved my life and ability to move. They are truly heroes and I will be eternally grateful,” he said.
Indeed, without a doubt, Kelsey saved her master’s life. “The dog was vital,” Dr. Colen told MLive.com. “It was providing warmth.”
It’s so amazing how dogs such as Kelsey would risk their own lives to save their owners. In this case, the golden retriever stayed by her owner’s side for 20 hours. Such a loyal dog!