Sunday, January 29, 2023
Home Rescue Service Dog Throws Himself In Front Of School Bus To Protect His...

Service Dog Throws Himself In Front Of School Bus To Protect His Blind Owner

 Audrey Stone, lying in a hospital bed high in the Danbury Hospital tower, spoke softly about her six-year companion, Figo, the 8-year-old golden retriever who hurled himself between the legally blind woman and an oncoming mini-school bus in Brewster on Monday.

With a laugh, Stone said, “He needs the Purple Heart from the president.”

Stone’s third service dog, Figo (pronounced FEE-go), is a product of Smithtown’s Guide Dog Foundation. Buddy the black Labrador and another golden named Leilani had gone before him.

“We hit it off right away,” Stone said of her first meeting with Figo.

“He defends me, loves me, and the other way around. We simply have a strong bond “As machines monitored her vital statistics, Stone said. She has three broken ribs, a broken ankle, and a broken elbow, according to doctors.

Stone and Figo were returning home from their “usual daily walk” into Brewster on Monday, heading to their home on North Main Street across from the firehouse. “I gave him the command to cross the street” when they arrived at Michael Neuner Drive, Stone said.

“‘Forward,’ I said. And we were in the middle of the street, and it all happened so fast, but people claimed he simply jumped at the bus “According to Stone.

Two kindergartners were being transported to St. Lawrence O’Toole Childhood Learning Center on the Brewster schools mini-school bus. Stone and her dog were never seen by the driver, who has been taken off the road pending an investigation.

Stone, who has limited vision, said she doesn’t recall much about the accident, but one image sticks with her: a wounded Figo crawling to her side, his injured right paw held up.

“I knew he’d be in a lot of pain,” Stone said. “I remember seeing him and his paw was hanging like a wet dish rag when he got over to me.”

“I could tell he was in pain, and I was a wreck. I had the appearance of a war zone “she went on. “I remember Figo standing there staring at me, trying to get close to me, but he didn’t know what to do because he knew I was hurt.”

Figo had surgery to close a gash on his right front leg at Middlebranch Veterinary in Southeast. Figo’s leg is in a sling, but he is on the mend, according to a staffer.

Stone and Figo’s story went viral almost immediately after it was reported on Monday, with news outlets scrambling to cover the service dog whose actions prevented a tragic end. Lohud.com readers from Atlanta and North Dakota wrote in to express their support.

Friends closer to home are also sending positive vibes.

On Tuesday, Pastor Jennifer Boyd paid a visit to Stone in the hospital and took calls from well-wishers and the national media. Stone, according to Boyd, is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, as is Figo, who goes up for communion but does not take it.

It was upsetting for Boyd to learn about the accident.

“They frequently walk there. It’s a typical path for them “Boyd remarked. “And I’m well aware of Audrey and Figo’s friendship. It’s difficult for them to be separated in this manner. I understand that he needs to be where he is in order to heal, and she needs to be where she is in order to recover, but the sooner we can get them together, the better for both of them.”

 

Doctors want to keep an eye on her, according to Stone, and she will have more surgery and then rehab. She has no idea when she and her four-legged constant companion will be able to enjoy each other’s company once more.

Stone is certain of one thing: “I would have been heartbroken if he had been killed.” She added, however, that they both lived to tell the tale.

Stone said, “I’m not surprised he did it.” “When a shopping cart rolls down the aisle in the grocery store, he’ll go between me and my cart to stop it. That’s something he’s done before for me.”

On Monday, she had anticipated receiving medical attention of a different kind.

“I was supposed to have surgery on an infected tooth,” she explained, laughing. “Did I have a good excuse to miss it?” she wondered.

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