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By: Tim Keenan

It was the 9th of January. A day I will remember for a long time. It was a day I was saved by my loving dog Sammy.

It was a normal Sunday morning around 8:30am; right on time for Sammy’s morning walk. I do not walk, so I ride in my power wheelchair. We get out the door and make our way toward a property near my apartment complex. We get to the gate and out of the complex, and we go left onto the extra wide sidewalk. It is about a 3/4 of a mile walk one way, passing a firehouse on the right side of the road, before we turn around and start back.

Along the path we take is a large AT&T plate over the sidewalk. I passed over it the first time without any problems. My wheelchair can reach up to 8 mph, but we go a little slower on our walks, around 2 mph, so Sammy can keep up. This speed is pretty fast for a 15-year-old Blue Tick Heeler.

As we turn around and make our way back, I go over the sidewalk plate again except this time it’s moved without me realizing, putting my wheelchair in the grass on the embankment for the storm runoff drainage. The next thing I know, my wheelchair starts to tip over, throwing me out of the chair and tumbling down the embankment into the muddy water below.

My right thigh is hurt, and I am unable to pull myself upright. Meanwhile, Sammy is sitting up on the sidewalk with his leash caught under the tipped over wheelchair. I hear him barking louder than I’ve ever heard. He knew I was hurt.

By the way my wheelchair tipped over, a passerby on the street would not be able to see it from the road. All anyone could see was a dog barking on the sidewalk almost right across the street from the firehouse.

I could tell Sammy spotted someone as he started barking even louder and jumping around to draw attention. Attention is exactly what he got as he caught the eye of a fireman from the firehouse.

Three fireman came to my dog’s aid right away. They told me later that they thought it was odd for a dog to be sitting there and barking like that. As they approach my dog, they see me down in the embankment and rush to help me. They lifted my head and right shoulder out of the muddy water and brushed away the broken glass on my face from where my glasses broke during the fall.

After ensuring I was not seriously injured, they went back up the embankment to get my wheelchair upright and back onto the sidewalk so they had somewhere to place me after pulling me out. Now, this is no easy task because my power wheelchair weighs over 400 lbs.! It took all three firemen to get the chair back to where I could sit on it.

As soon as Sammy’s leash was free from being caught underneath the wheelchair, he came right to my side.

They checked me out one more time before starting to move me up and out of the embankment. I could not walk, so one of the firemen grabbed me from under my shoulders and dragged me up the steep hill about ten feet up. They got me seated and talked with me for about 10 more minutes to make sure my mind and body were ok.

Finally, I thanked them, and they returned to the firehouse. Sammy and I started on our way home, and I am shaking like a leaf from the experience. My jacket is wet and covered in mud.

Then, it struck me. Sammy saved my life.

I was down in that embankment for over 15 minutes, wet and muddy in 44 degree weather, and because of his actions, I was found. Before we made it home, I stopped to look at Sammy and said, “Thank you for being my hero.” His tail started to wag, and he came up next to the wheelchair so I could pet him.

We saved him from a bad life, and in turn, he saved and protected mine. Thank you, Sammy! My hero!