BREWSTER, N.Y. — A service dog stepped in front of a school bus to protest his blind owner. Although both were hurt, the loyal dog stayed by his owner’s side until help arrived.
The injured service dog has a limp but can still manage a tail wag after the accident on Monday.
The 8-year-old Golden Retriever is the companion and guide for Audrey Stone a legally blind resident of Brewster, N.Y., who knows Figo is something special.
“I thank him. I thank God that I have him and that he survived, too, and I love him,” Stone said.
Stone and Figo were crossing Main Street with the dog guiding on the right. Stone couldn’t see danger approach, but the dog could. He immediately changed sides and threw himself in harms way.
Police showed pictures of the front tire of the school bus and pavement in front, covered with the animal’s fur stripped from its right front leg.
“It was very heartbreaking, very heartbreaking,” witness Tina Pizzurro said.
Amazing, the dog didn’t yelp in pain but calmly struggled to stay with his owner.
“You really can’t touch an injured dog guarding someone,” Police Chief John Del Gardo said. “Touch ‘em, they’re aggressive. Not this dog.”
“He was trying even though he was so hurt, so badly, he was only on three legs at that time,” witness Paul Schwartz said. “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 in an ambulance. Figo was taken to a local veterinarian who said Figo’s behavior is remarkable even for a service animal.
“I can’t explain it, you know?” veterinarian Lou Ann Pfeifer said. “Whether he did that consciously or unconsciously, it’s pretty amazing.”
It’s the third service dog for Stone. She has been fond of them all, but Figo is providing extra incentive for her to get past her hospital treatment and back on her feet.
“I want to get home to my dog,” she said.