Oct 4

St Francis of Assisi is famous for many things. One of the precious things he reminds us is that animals are truly a blessing of God’s creation. As we celebrate the feast of St. Francis and the blessing of the animals, what follows is a heart-warming story about a dog who saved the life of a little girl earlier this year in Melbourne.

Roary and EbonyROARY the Staffordshire bull terrier turned lifesaver when he saw a deadly brown snake rear to strike three-year-old Ebony Davis.

Roary jumped on the 1.5-metre snake, bit it and swung it clear of Ebony and her father in the backyard of their home.

But the family pet’s bravery almost cost its life.

As Roary held on, the snake bit him repeatedly on the flanks and one ear before breaking free and slithering under a shed.

Ebony’s father, Tim Davis, 38, said the dog “did a lap of honour around the yard, with his tail on high, and then he went in the house and collapsed”.

“As I wiped the venom off his body, his legs gave way and his head came down on the floor,” Mr Davis said. “There was no sign of life in him.”

Mr Davis put Roary on the front seat of his car and rushed the dog 10km to Kangaroo Flat Veterinary Centre, near his home at Lockwood in central Victoria.

“He was quite still and I kept stopping to breathe some air into his nose, but I was sure he was a goner,” Mr Davis said.

“When we got there, the vet told me how expensive the anti-venom was and how slim his chances were with so many bites.

“I said, ‘Money doesn’t matter; he’s saved my little girl’s life. Just get on with it’.

“A minute later, needles were hanging out of him everywhere.”

But 10-year-old Roary is a fighter and when the Sunday Herald Sun visited him at home two weeks after the attack, he was running in the yard like a puppy.

“I’ve had him since he was six weeks old,” said Tim’s partner and Ebony’s mother, Christine Martin, 29.

“I don’t know what I’d have done if we’d lost him.”

The only sign of Roary’s ordeal is some muscle wastage around his chest, but he is expected to recover.

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