U.S. NEWS
07/02/2018 06:23 pm ET Updated Jul 03, 2018

Brave Dog Gets Bitten In Face While Protecting Owner From Rattlesnake

Needless to say, Todd deserves belly rubs for life.

Man’s best friend, indeed.

On Friday, Todd, a 6-month-old golden retriever, was on a hike in Anthem, Arizona, with his owner, Paula Godwin, when trouble slithered onto their path.

Todd with Godwin's other dog, Copper, shortly before Todd was bitten.
Paula Godwin
Todd with Godwin's other dog, Copper, shortly before Todd was bitten.

Godwin was about to step onto a rattlesnake when Todd jumped between her and the venomous reptile.

“He jumped right in front of my leg w[h]ere I surely would have got bit,” Godwin wrote on Facebook. “This is what a hero looks like.”

Ouch.
Paula Godwin
Ouch.

Godwin told KTAR News 92.3 FM that she rushed her pup to an animal hospital, where he received an anti-venom injection but still ended up with a pretty swollen face. 

It's OK, Todd!
Paula Godwin
It's OK, Todd!

On Monday Godwin posted to Facebook that “Todd is recovering so well.”

A study published in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine found that from 2008-2015, an average of six people a year died from snake bites in the United States. Other animals, including wasps, bees and dogs caused far more deaths, according to The New York Times.

Godwin told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that when she and Todd first encountered the snake, it was docile.

“Todd noticed something by my leg and … I didn’t see the snake at all,” she said. “There was no danger, rattle or anything, no warning sign. I think he was sleeping or sun bathing … Todd just kind of darted towards my leg to see what it was and that’s when the snake actually bit him and started to rattle.”

Even so, Todd’s intervention still prevented Godwin from stepping on the snake ― and potentially getting bitten ― herself.

When people get bitten by snakes, it’s often because they accidentally stepped on one or walked up to one without realizing it, according to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Other major causes of snake bites include people harassing or attempting to handle snakes.

Photos of puffy Todd and the tale of bravery soon spread from Facebook to Twitter, where We Rate Dogs — a popular and humorous account that rates dogs on a scale of 1 to 10 — posted pics of the furry hero Sunday.

And Todd quickly went viral.

According to Matt Nelson, who runs We Rate Dogs, Todd’s post “shattered all of our records.”

“He has such a sweet personality [and is] very caring,” Godwin told HuffPost of Todd.

What a good boy!

This story has been updated to include more details about the circumstances that led to the snake bite, as well as additional information about snakes.

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