He's Her Hero

A plucky stray makes a remarkable rescue -- and in the process finds his mission in life.
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A Dog's Instincts

Late one night last January, Shannon Lorio, 37, was driving down a winding back road in Georgia. Fresh from an argument with her husband, she was steaming mad and, by her own admission, driving so fast she lost control of her car and crashed into a wooded ravine. She was thrown through the back window of her Buick LeSabre and landed on its trunk. Bruised, dazed, and suffering from what she would learn later was bleeding in her brain, Lorio soon sensed a presence nearby. She turned her head, spotted what appeared to be a wild animal and panicked, fearing that it might attack her.

The creature was, in fact, a year-old German shepherd who had lived most of his young life at the end of a chain or in a small backyard pen, confined by two separate owners who had failed to train him. In winter 2006 the dog managed to escape. When he crossed paths with Lorio he had been wandering the countryside. Workers at a local steel plant sometimes spotted the skinny dog and, pitying him, gave him food.

But far from attacking Lorio, the dog was on a rescue mission. He jumped on the trunk, licked Lorio's face and pulled her off the car. Realizing his good intentions, Lorio allowed him to drag her by the shoulder of her leather jacket through 50 yards of brush to the road. A passing motorist saw them, stopped and called for help.

Even when the ambulance arrived the dog would not leave Lorio's side, witnesses reported. Lorio told them that the German shepherd was not hers and had appeared out of nowhere, so they called an animal-control officer from the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society shelter. When he transported the dog there, he told his colleagues the remarkable story.

Continued on page 2:  The Hero Dog


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