A heroic pit bull sacrificed his life to save children from a very deadly snake.
You've probably heard the expression "we don't deserve dogs," and while that may seem like an exaggeration used by dog lovers, it is nonetheless the truth. Dogs freely give us way more than we could ever offer them. When you consider the amount of unconditional love, support, and loyalty dogs show to their humans (as well as other animals), the idea that we pay them in full by offering them a bit of food and lodging is laughable. One perfect example of this lesson is an 8-month old pit bull named Zeus, who recently sacrificed his life to save two children in his family who were being threatened by a poisonous snake in their yard.
On September 23, the hero pup was outside with the two youngest human members of the Richardson family in their yard in Sumter County, Florida, when the incident happened. The two young boys did not see the deadly coral snake approaching; however, Zeus picked up the threat. Without hesitation, the dog lept to their defense. Sadly, Zeus was bitten by the dangerous snake during the battle. After the attack, Gary Richards, the children's dad, talked about their family's tragedy.
Gary's two sons were in their yard cleaning out Zeus's water bowl when the snake just seemed to manifest out of nowhere, and it was approaching the kids very quickly. Gary later told Fox 35:
“All of a sudden, he started attacking the snake which was close to my son, and he was bit four times. I knew when he first came in that something was wrong, and (it) was very traumatic because I knew he was dying.”
Zeus' family quickly rushed the pup to the vet's office in Ocala, where they at first believed the pup would pull through, as Gary said, "We just knew the anti-venom was going to work."
Sadly, Zeus would end up passing away the next day as a result of the snake's deadly venom. Coral Snakes are incredibly poisonous, and their venom is the second-strongest out of every snake species on the planet.
The website petMD says that a coral snake can cause paralysis, which can include paralysis of muscles needed to breathe, meaning the main cause of death is often respiratory collapse.
Symptoms of a coral snake bite in animals can include drooling, the inability to bark, shortness of breath, convulsions, and diarrhea. However, the start of these symptoms may not manifest right away and can be delayed as much as 18 hours after they are bitten.
Gina Richards, who regarded Zeus as a "member of the family," confessed that the pup's death "just killed us." And our hearts also break for Zeus' family.
“Pit bulls are the most loyal dog I know of, and I’ve had a lot of different animals in my life.”
His wife agrees, noting that Zeus had never been aggressive and it's usually because the animal was mistreated, adding:
“If you treat them right, they would give their life for you and I owe my son’s life to him.”
We are sure that Zeus is watching over his family from heaven, patiently waiting for the day he sees them again — may he rest in peace.