BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – Being a hero is often about timing – being in the right place at the right time. It is about knowing when to act, what to do and how to save the day without hesitation.
Just ask one grandmother from Brandon, and she’ll tell you.
Her grandchildren, 4-year-old Zayden and 1-year-old Mallory, are alive because her two beloved canines stepped in at the right time.
It was a very familiar moment outside of the family’s Brandon home. The grandchildren were playing in the garden, blissfully unaware that a predator was lurking nearby.
A highly venomous snake was just inches away, and no one ever knew it.
That is, until two loyal, highly dependable four-legged good Samaritans intervened.
“They are my boys, my protectors,” Melissa Butt said.
The family dogs are what kept the children alive.
Slayer and Paco knew something was wrong when they saw a copperhead snake dangerously close to their human counterparts.
The dogs begin barking, angrily warning the dangerous snake to slither away. But, this guest wasn’t taking no for an answer.
Seconds later, the snake struck.
Both dogs were bitten and injected with venom.
Slayer suffered deep wounds on his face and snout, while Paco was struck in the leg.
Life-saving treatment was needed immediately.
Butt rushed the dogs to get emergency veterinary care. When the duo arrived at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners Hospital in Brandon, they were in bad shape.
“We need to get the anti-venom…quickly, in order for them to get a good prognosis. It is very, very painful,” Dr. Shelby Loos said.
“We give them medicine for pain and make them as comfortable as possible. But, we have to act fast.”
Thanks to the quick fundraising efforts from animal rescue group, Frankie’s Friends, that’s exactly what happened.
Through the organization, money was raised to help pay for extensive, expensive life-saving treatment.
“Pets are truly part of the family, and in this case, they proved that to every extent possible,” said Danielle Martin.
This story has the happiest of endings, with Paco already up and running around at home, back to his old ways, playfully running around his spacious yard and snuggling up to his family.
Meanwhile, Slayer is still recovering at Blue Pearl in Brandon, anxious to go home. He was visibly happy, wagging his tail heartily, when he saw his owner as she stopped by to give him encouragement and cuddles Monday afternoon.
“I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude to Blue Pearl and Frankie’s Friends. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them,” Butt said through tears.
These four-legged heroes can’t wait to be reunited soon.
They’ll go back to defending their home, their garden and the grandchildren who depended on their love and loyalty during a harrowing, and ultimately heartwarming, life-saving moment.