'Hero' dog bitten by rattlesnake while protecting owner

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A close-up of the dog's face. It is extremely swollen from where he was bitten.Image source, Paula Godwin
Image caption,
Hooray for Todd - the pup has become famous after his pictures were shared across social media

Move over K-9, there's a new superdog in town.

Todd the golden retriever was labelled a hero for putting himself in harm's way to protect his owner - and was bitten by a rattlesnake in the process.

Paula Godwin posted the story to Facebook, alongside pictures of Todd's swollen face, describing what happened.

"As we were walking down the hill I literally almost stepped on a rattlesnake. But my hero of a puppy Todd saved me."

Image source, Paula Godwin
Image caption,
Todd on his walk before and then after being bitten

Todd was called into action when Paula found herself face-to-face with a rattlesnake on a hike trail in Arizona.

"He bolted by my leg," she told the BBC. "That's when he was hit by the snake.

"Todd was yelping right away, crying. I picked him up, ran down the hill with my other dog Copper, and we got him to the hospital within about 10 minutes of being bit.

"He got the anti-venom quickly and was in the hospital for about 12 hours.

"He for sure saved me from being bit. He's my hero."

Image source, Paula Godwin

Paula explained that she was aware of the risks rattlesnakes pose where she lives, but said that this particular reptile was almost undetectable.

"I am a native from Arizona," she said, "I know all the dangers, I am very vigilant of where I am and my surroundings.

"This snake did not give any indication he was there. Usually if I hear that rattle I am alert and I am backing away.

"I think he was just resting in the road - he was a grey speckled white rattlesnake, he looked just like the road.

"I am so aware, so vigilant, but I didn't see him."

Pictures of Todd have been widely shared online, with popular Twitter account WeRateDogs calling the puppy "a true hero".

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Paula said the amount of coverage her Facebook post received was "overwhelming, but Todd deserves it".

"It's amazing," she said. "I'm just a small-town girl here with her doggies.

"I love that people see Todd as the hero that he is.

"He is on the mend now. He is doing wonderful, and it seems like he's going to have a great recovery and be completely fine.

"He's acting like a normal puppy. He is for sure my hero."

Image source, Paula Godwin
Image caption,
Not all heroes wear capes - but this one does, sometimes

By Tom Gerken, UGC & Social News