Hero coach rescues puppy from hot car

Coach Barry Switzer is a legend to football fans across the U.S. The former head coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners and popular NFL team the Dallas Cowboys became an icon when he became one of only two football coaches in history to win both a college national championship and an NFL Super Bowl. He’s earned entry to the College Football Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the prestigious Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award.

When Switzer saw the dog in a hot van, he immediately offered to purchase the pooch from her owners. (Photo credit: KFOR-TV)

After retiring from coaching football, Switzer became a color commentator for the sport and is even an entrepreneur in Oklahoma, the state the famous coach calls home.

And even after all of his achievements, Coach Switzer is still a heck of a nice guy, a hero on the field and off.

Earlier this week, as Coach Switzer was walking into an Oklahoma store, he spotted a small Rottweiler panting in the back of a van, in distress due to the blazing summer heat.

“I noticed that it was a beautiful dog and I saw it was a puppy,” Coach Switzer tells KJRH.com.

Coach Switzer knew the situation was serious, and if he didn’t step in the dog would likely lose her life in that hot van.

Vehicles can quickly turn into an oven on hot days or when parked in direct sunlight; on a 90-degree day, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 113 degrees within only 10 minutes, and a whopping 120 degrees within only 20. Animals left in hot cars can exhibit signs of heat stroke after only a short time, and even die as a result.

Concerned for the young Rottie, Coach Switzer stood by and waited for her owners to appear from inside the store. When the pair emerged, Switzer approached them and offered to purchase the Rottweiler puppy for an undisclosed amount, likely saving the pup’s life. He brought the dog immediately to a veterinarian, where she could be examined from head to toe.

“I told the doc I want rabies shots, check for worms, everything,” Switzer says. “They even clipped the toenails so it was a pedicure for her. She went to the spa,” the kind coach jokes.

He’s also given the sweet pup a new name, changing it from Sassy, chosen by her former owners, to what he feels is a more fitting moniker — Stella, meaning “star” in Italian.

While Coach Switzer says he would love to be able to keep Stella, he already has too many dogs of his own, including a German Shepherd named Sieger.

“I want some loving family who loves dogs and cares about dogs like I do to be able to have her,” Switzer tells KFOR.com.

While offers to adopt Stella poured in, Coach Switzer handpicked what he feels is the best new family for the dog he rescued — a couple who lost their home back in the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013. KFOR.com reports that August 9 is the couple’s wedding anniversary, and Stella has turned out to be the best surprise they never expected. Anniversary gifts for the couple are sure to be very “dog-centric.”

This isn’t the first time Coach Switzer has stepped up in the name of an animal. In September, 2012, when it was believed black Labrador Retriever Jettawas dragged to her death while tethered to a vehicle in the Sooner State, the big-hearted coach was one of the first to donate money to the reward fund established to bring Jetta’s killer to justice. When it was discovered that Jetta’s death was not the result of animal cruelty, Coach Switzer decided his $5,000 donation should go to help the animals at the Wild Heart Ranch, a nearby animal rescue sanctuary.

Sources: KJRH.com, KFOR.com