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5 tales of amazing dog heroics

By CNN Staff
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 2215 GMT (0615 HKT)
  • In the past year and a half, there have been several prominent stories of canine heroes
  • One sacrificed his eye to save a young girl from a venomous rattlesnake
  • Another alerted a couple that their newborn baby had stopped breathing

(CNN) -- Young Maya Delarosa was making mud pies with her sister when she made a frightening discovery.

"I hear a hiss and a rattle, and I look down and there's a snake," Maya recently told CNN affiliate KTSM in Hueco Tanks, Texas.

The snake was curled up and ready to strike, but that's when Maya's dog, Psycho, leapt into action.

The 10-pound Chihuahua-poodle mix stepped in front of Maya and was bitten in the eyelid. He ultimately had to have his eye removed.

Maya's grandmother, Martha Rodriguez, was grateful for the dog's brave intervention.

"He saved her life. ... He's my hero," Rodriguez told KTSM.

Psycho is just one of several canine heroes that have been in the news since last year. Check out these other tales of amazing dog heroics:

Dog saves trainer from reckless car

A guide dog in training was credited for saving two people from an out-of-control car in San Rafael, California.

See dog save trainers from reckless car

Danielle Alvarado and Todd Jurek, trainers at Guide Dogs for the Blind, were working with, O'Neil, a yellow lab, when a car started barreling down the sidewalk in reverse.

The dramatic footage was caught on a local business' surveillance camera in June. O'Neil was able to alert Jurek just in time for Jurek to push the blindfolded Alvarado out of harm's way.

"I think the dog looked before I did," Jurek told CNN affiliate KGO.

Dog saves 2-year-old lost in the woods

A 2-year-old boy in South Carolina was missing for more than four hours last November, sending his family into a panic.

Dog saves 2-year-old lost in woods

But the family's devoted dog stayed by his side through the entire ordeal and eventually led him to safety.

Peyton Myrick had wandered into the woods outside Clover while his grandfather worked on a nearby tractor.

Peyton's father, Rich, was at a pediatrician's office with his other son when he heard the news. He raced home, and the doctor and staff came, too. Law enforcement officials and neighbors soon joined the search in the open countryside.

It was long past dark when neighbors eventually noticed Ashepoo, the family's Australian shepherd, near a barn. Nearby was Peyton, sleeping on his jacket unhurt and unfazed.

"It's relief like I've never felt. ... If a dog can be a hero, that dog's a hero," Rich Myrick told CNN affiliate WSOC.

Dog alerts family to newborn's distress

The Brousseau family knew something was wrong when their dog, Duke, jumped on their bed in the middle of the night, shaking uncontrollably.

Dog alerts family to newborn's distress

"He is insanely obedient, so this was extremely bizarre," Jenna Brousseau told CNN affiliate WFSB in Connecticut.

Brousseau and her husband got out of bed and went in to check in on their 9-week-old daughter, Harper.

Harper was not breathing in her bassinet.

The family called 911, and paramedics were able to revive Harper and take her to the hospital, where she later recovered.

Brousseau said Duke is a lifesaver.

"If Duke hadn't been so scared, we would have just gone to sleep," she said.

Golden retriever helps rescue brother

Dogs aren't only saving people. They're also saving other dogs.

Retriever helps rescue its brother

Penny Blackwell's two golden retrievers, Baxter and Bailey, were leashed together when they ran away last year in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Blackwell put up flyers and begged for help on Facebook, but she felt hopeless after two weeks with no news.

Then a friend sent her a text message saying, "I think I have one of your dogs." It was Baxter.

Baxter's next job: tracking down his brother. He led Blackwell through the woods and down a path, where Bailey was stuck with his leash wrapped around some bushes.

"I could hardly get him untied," Blackwell told CNN affiliate WBZ. "He was jumping all over me and jumping over Baxter, so happy to see us."

Blackwell thinks the two dogs were trapped together before Baxter broke free.

"Baxter's a hero for taking me there," she said.

Bonus cat hero! Man says cat helped save his life

Cats can be heroes, too.

Man says cat helped save his life

Rick Chap was having a heart attack last year when his cat, Buddy, alerted his wife that something was wrong.

"He was meowing and scratching and jumping and just trying to get my attention," Jennifer Chap told CNN affiliate WKMG in Orlando, Florida.

Chap picked up her cat and walked to the kitchen, where her husband was curled up near the counter going into cardiac arrest.

She pulled her husband out onto the floor and began performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

"I really owe my life to Buddy because without him, she would have never come out of that office," Rick Chap said.

Meet the top 10 CNN (human) Heroes of the Year

10 everyday people, 10 extraordinary acts

Part of complete coverage on
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 0303 GMT (1103 HKT)
Chad Pregracke, who has dedicated his life to cleaning the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways, is the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 0256 GMT (1056 HKT)
CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke pledged to give $10,000 of his winnings to each of the other top 10 Heroes.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
Celebrities joined CNN in New York to honor this year's top 10 Heroes.
October 10, 2013 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
They clean up rivers, build homes for disabled veterans and bring health care to some of the darkest parts of the world.
October 16, 2013 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
It was supposed to be a routine patrol in Iraq. But when the Humvee he was in veered slightly off the road, Dale Beatty's life changed forever.
November 3, 2013 -- Updated 2346 GMT (0746 HKT)
Dr. George Bwelle travels through Cameroon's jungles to provide free medical care for thousands.
October 21, 2013 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
Many Americans lack easy access to fresh, healthy food. That isn't acceptable to Robin Emmons.
October 28, 2013 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
Foster children don't often get the things that other children do, but one group is trying to help change that.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 2325 GMT (0725 HKT)
For many people, the violence in Camden, New Jersey, can make it feel more like a war zone than an American city.
November 13, 2013 -- Updated 2144 GMT (0544 HKT)
For many children fighting cancer, it can be extremely tough to make their chemotherapy appointments.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 0047 GMT (0847 HKT)
When Kakenya Ntaiya was 14, she negotiated a deal with her father: I'll endure female circumcision if you let me finish high school.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Chad Pregracke has made it his life's mission to clean up the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 1941 GMT (0341 HKT)
Estella Pyfrom noticed that fewer students had access to a computer after school. So she bought a bus and brought technology to the kids.
October 13, 2013 -- Updated 2339 GMT (0739 HKT)
In many countries, mothers are dying during childbirth -- not because they lack skilled doctors, but because they lack reliable electricity.