Fearless canine heroes sacrifice lives to save owners

Every day, dogs across the country and around the world perform selfless acts of valor and love, fearlessly putting themselves in harm’s way to save their people, and always with no thoughts of their own safety. Far too often these four-legged heroes go unrecognized.

Simon, a Boxer (left) saved a child from a speeding car; Dachshund Bradley (right) attacked a black bear so his owner could flee.

But not today. DogTime.com would like to take a moment to remember two brave dogs who recently gave their lives to protect their owners.

For four years, Simon, an 80-pound Boxer, served as a guide dog and companion for his visually impaired owner, Atlanta, Ga.-area resident David Furukawa.

Monday morning, with Simon as his faithful escort, Furukawa, who is legally blind, walked with his son to school. Suddenly, as Simon and his family crossed the road, a speeding car ran through a stop sign and barreled towards them. That’s when witnesses say the courageous guide dog sprung into action, pushing young Will out of the vehicle’s path, taking the brunt of the impact on himself.

As the car plowed through the intersection, Furukawa was knocked to the pavement, suffering a broken elbow, knee, and heel. But in the chaos, all he could do was worry about his little boy — and the guide dog who’d become a beloved family member over the past four years.

“What people have said is that Simon either got up or jumped out, and pushed my son out of the path of the car,” Furukawa tells USA Today. “That is true loyalty and courage.”

After the accident, Furukawa was rushed to the hospital, and a badly injured Simon refused to leave Will’s side as bystanders transported the frightened boy to his nearby home. Despite a broken leg, a deep gash on his side, and severe internal bleeding, the valiant Boxer followed behind Will, whom Furukawa says Simon loved deeply.

“He managed to hobble home to make sure that my son was okay because obviously, I’m sure the dog is thinking, ‘Who are these strangers taking my boy,’” Furukawa tells FOX News Orlando. When Simon was sure Will, the little boy he saved, was okay, the brave dog laid on the floor, overcome by his wounds.

Though family members tried to rush Simon to a nearby emergency veterinary clinic, the dog’s injuries proved fatal. He died on the way to the hospital.

To Furukawa, Simon is much more than a loyal dog or even a best friend.

“He sacrificed himself to make sure my son was OK,” a grateful Furukawa said of Simon. “His legacy will live on…forever.”

Meanwhile, two Michigan men are grateful to be alive but grieving the loss of the pint-sized dog who protected them from a black bear earlier this month.

According to UpNorthLive.com, three old friends — Mike Hodges, his buddy Jeremy, and John Force — gathered at Force’s home in upstate Oscoda County for a weekend outing. When Mike and Jeremy decided to venture into the woods for a golf cart ride, they decided to bring the Force family’s friendly Dachshund, Bradley, along.

Little did the men know they’d be riding straight into a life or death situation — straight into the path of a mama bear and her cubs.

As the protective mother bear came roaring at them, it looked like certain death for Mike and Jeremy. And it would’ve been — if it weren’t for Bradley. The four-pound Dachshund ran at the black bear, a beast at least 100 times his size, giving his human friends enough time to get away.

“Bradley jumped off the golf cart and attacked the bear, and the bear grabbed Brad and took off,” Force tells 9and10news.com.

Sadly little Bradley did not survive, sacrificing his life to distract the lethal bear, but while the Force family misses their little guard dog, they are also quite proud of Bradley for acting quick to save their friends. Force, who also owns Rottweilers, is not surprised at Bradley’s fearlessness.

“I think when Brad saw [the bear], he did what he would normally do — jumped right off it and went at it,” Force says admiringly of his late dog. “I wouldn’t have ran after that bear with a knife as big as I am, and little Brad — four, five pounds — he don’t have a filter for fear.”

“He was a warrior,” Force adds. “If he would have died any other way than that, you know, it was a noble death the way I look at it.”

“He was only four to five pounds, but in his mind I think he thought he was 100 pounds,” Force’s wife Lisa says of Bradley. “I would expect him to protect me before the Rottweilers, probably.”

Sources: USA Today, FOX News Orlando, UpNorthLive.com, 9and10news.com