Family dog becomes heroPublished 4:27pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012
MARCELLUS—“Fear” was the only word Patricia Drauch, of Marcellus, could use to describe her emotions after seeing her youngest son, Stanley, floating in the pool Sunday afternoon.
Stanley, who is 14 months old, usually follows Drauch, her husband, Steve, or his brother and sister, just about everywhere. But Sunday, he wandered toward the pool in the backyard and accidently fell in. As soon as Drauch found him, she realized the family’s dog, Bear, a 3-year-old black Labrador, had jumped in after Stanley and was crouched beneath the toddler’s back, holding him out of the water.
“Stanley’s always followed me or one of us; I never think anything of it because he’s always been right behind me,” Drauch said. “But when Kyle (oldest son) didn’t know where Stanley was after I couldn’t see him, I immediately went to check the pool.”
Stanley had fallen into the shallow end, and Bear was propping him up, not moving until someone came to help.
“I jumped in and grabbed Stanley to get him out of the water, and that’s when Bear finally moved and got out,” Drauch said.
Drauch tried desperately to dial 911 to no avail due to lack of cell phone reception. She instructed her oldest son to grab her purse, and she began to drive to the Marcellus Fire Department when Stanley opened his eyes.
“In the car, he threw up a lot of water, but he wasn’t responding to me talking to him,” Drauch said. “Six or seven firefighters were there to help, and, when they took him, that’s when he finally started to respond and scream.”
That moment, Drauch said, was her first moment of relief.
“I was happy just to hear him cry,” Drauch said. “Once the firefighters checked him out, I went home .… I just wanted to hold him.”
Drauch then called her husband, who was working in Portage. They took Stanley to Three Rivers Area Hospital, where X-rays were taken. Drauch said, after the doctors cleared and released him, Stanley was back to his playful nature by the next day.
“They found no fluid in his lungs; he checked out perfectly fine,” Drauch said.
As for Bear, Drauch said he was acting on pure instincts and love.
“The kids have had Bear since he was born; my mom has his mother,” Drauch said. “I’ve always told him, ‘These are your babies, protect your babies.’”
Beyond Bear’s instincts, the Drauches can only equate his heroic act to the miniscule duck hunting training Steve had given him previously.
“I don’t know if that (duck hunting training) has anything to do with it,” Steve said. “But I had worked with him briefly before on retrieving things out of water, and I never thought he had picked up on it.”
Drauch said Bear has never done any rescues before, and he’s never been formally trained.
“He just knew what to do before I could get there,” Drauch said.
Bear will celebrate his fourth birthday July 5.