German Shepherd Haus is fighting for his life at a veterinary clinic after sustaining three rattlesnake bites in defense of a 7-year-old girl at a Tampa backyard in Florida on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. With the same grit he showed battling the snake, Haus is holding his ground despite kidney damage, to give the humans with their needles and swabs a chance to save him.
According to ABC News, the DeLuca family adopted the 2-year-old German Shepherd from a rescue center two months ago, and nobody expected him to prove that one good turn deserves another, so quickly. Standing between his adoptive family’s little girl, Molly, and an eastern diamondback, North America’s most venomous rattlesnake, he paid back the DeLuca kindness ten-fold.
It all happened on Wednesday afternoon as Molly played with Haus in the DeLuca family’s small backyard and her grandmother watched close by. The idyllic scene of Molly picking up dog toys from the ground with Haus by her side, was interrupted when the 68-pound German Shepherd started jumping around wildly.
From her vantage point at the doorway of the family’s screened-in pool, Molly’s grandma saw Haus leaping forward and back three times. She walked out to check the German Shepherd’s erratic behavior and caught sight of a snake coiled for combat. Haus had not faltered in his duty to protect Molly from the deadly reptile.
According to New York Daily News, what the grandmother had witnessed was relayed to a Fox 13 interviewer by Molly’s mother, Donya DeLuca. She reprized the action highlighting the German Shepherd’s deed.
“She saw him jump back, and go forward, and jump back and go forward. He was just, kind of, holding his ground. Next thing we know is, there’s blood and he was limping and crying.”
The family later discovered that each time Haus snapped back, he was being bitten by the snake.
As Donya DeLuca listened to the frantic call from Molly’s grandmother, the little girl’s hysterical cries were audible in the background. Donya DeLuca met both her mother and daughter bringing the German Shepherd to the emergency clinic of the neighborhood veterinarian. Though still able to walk, Haus limped badly, bleeding from his injured leg. Piecing accounts of the attack together, Molly’s mother deduced that every time Haus leaped back, he’d sustained a snake bite.
Under observation at the vet clinic, Haus’s condition worsened. According to Molly’s mother, he began drooling excessively and couldn’t keep his head up. Unsteady chest movements showed the German Shepherd unable to breathe properly.
The attending vets thought at first that Haus had only been bitten once, because it is typical for a dog to flee after a snake strike. But when they shaved down his fur, it became evident that the German Shepherd suffered three bite marks on his right front leg, just below the middle joint.
Further tests showed that the snake’s venom had damaged the dog’s kidneys. Though a full recovery is hoped for, there’s a price to saving Haus. Each day in intensive care would entail a cost of between $1000 to $1500, and each vial of anti-venom used is $618. With the German Shepherd averaging 4 or 5 vials per day to remove the poison from his system, expenses are mounting.
Donya DeLuca said she has lived in her Tampa home with her husband, Adam, and their family for about 10 years. While the occasional snake sighting is to be expected in Florida, the rattlesnake intrusion was a first for her. She blamed the road construction near her home as the cause, disturbing the snake’s habitat.
For his part, Adam DeLuca is of the opinion that because his home is near a state park infested with rattlesnakes and cottonmouths, one of them can easily slip under his fence. According to the Chicago Tribune, Molly’s father is convinced that the kindness his family showed a German Shepherd down on his luck, has been rewarded.
“It shows you that a rescue dog, for us, paid it forward by protecting my family.”
A GoFundMe account the Deluca family set up to help defray the cost of the antivenin, exceeded its initial goal of $15,000. Hundreds of donors responded, and $35,000 was raised by Friday afternoon, May 13, to save the German Shepherd.
[Photo by China Photos/Getty Images]