03/23/2012 08:01 pm ET

Dog Saves Girl From Sex Offender Attack

On National Puppy Day it seems all too appropriate that one Florida shelter dog is being lauded for her heroic efforts as woman's best friend.

When a 17-year-old girl left St. Petersburg's Friends of Strays animal shelter to walk a dog, she never imagined her volunteer work would lead her to be the one in need. But as Fox News reported, when she walked on a path behind the building with Mabeline, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, that's exactly what happened.

According to local television station WTSP, registered sexual predator Michael Bacon chased the girl, grabbing her hair and pinning her to the ground. The 38-pound dog began barking, scaring the attacker off enough that the volunteer was able to flee, People reported.

The brave puppy has since been adopted by Mary Callahan, who did not know about her new pet's valiant actions until notified by WTSP.

"I looked at my dog and I thought, 'You are a hero,'" Callahan told the broadcaster.

Bacon has been arrested, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and hopefully Mabeline will be rewarded with her own slice of bacon.