In a July 24 Facebook post, Zachary Pate, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, shared the story of how his dog Ruger saved the day: “Ruger saved me a hospital trip maybe even my life,” Pate wrote.
He says that Ruger, who had never bitten him in the past, suddenly started aggressively nipping at him during a walk by the lake. He says his dog wrapped around his leg and dug his claws in.
But when Pate turned around to scold his dog, he realized Ruger was in fact trying to protect him — from a copperhead snake.
“I turned to grab him and he had a copper head backed against a log,” Pate wrote.
Copperhead snakes are venomous, and are known to bite humans when threatened — often when a person gets too close because they don’t notice the camouflaged snakes on the ground. Their bites can cause serious injury and sometimes death.
But Pate avoided a trip to the hospital or worse thanks to his smart quick-thinking dog. Ruger attacked the snake, and both man and dog were able to walk away with no snake bites.
Pate did have a bleeding cut on his arm from Ruger trying to pull him away, but he’s happy to have it: “Rather have this cut that the bite from that copperhead any day,” he wrote.
He had nothing but praise for his protector, and was moved to see how far his dog went to protect him: “Literally almost filled my eyes with tears knowing he risked his life to save me,” he wrote. “I literally sat down with him and held him. This guy is by far my guardian. Best dog ever award goes to this guy… Thankful for my best friend.”
“It really does give meaning as to why dog is God spelled backward,” Pate told WVTM 13.
Great job, Ruger! Thank you for stepping up to save your owner from serious danger.