The 64-year-old left his home on New Year’s Eve at 10:30pm to gather wood for his fire, however while walking outside he slipped in the snow and landed on his neck; compacting his spinal rope and causing him to be unable to move.
The temperature was 24 degrees Fahrenheit as Bob lay incapacitated in the snow, he tried shouting for help but his nearest neighbors was a quarter mile away and could not hear him.
It was during this time that his dog Kelsey began to lay on him while licking his face and hands, and barking loudly. His beloved dog kept him conscious while licking him, and by laying on him she kept him from hypothermia.
This continued for nearly 20 hours outside in the freezing temperature.
“I was screaming for help but my nearest neighbor is about a quarter mile away and it was 10:30 p.m., but my Kelsey came,” explained Bob. “By morning my voice was gone and I couldn’t yell for help, but Kelsey didn’t stop barking.”
“She kept barking for help but never left my side,” Bob said. “She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive.”
Eventually, he lost consciousness. But the silence didn’t stop Kelsey from barking, and eventually the dog’s efforts paid off.
The next day at 6:30pm his neighbor heard the barking of Kelsey and discovered Bob, then called 911 and emergency services came to the rescue.
Crisis teams took Bob to the McLaren Northern Michigan Emergency Department, where specialists determined him as hypothermic and to have herniated plates in his neck and back. The last wounds were compacting his spinal rope and causing loss of motion in his legs.
“I was surprised to find out that I didn’t have any frostbite,” Bob said. “I am sure it was because of Kelsey’s determination.”
Chaim Colen, a neurosurgeon at McLaren Northern Michigan, immediately performed spinal decompression surgery on Bob, which was a complete success. Bob still has a long road of recovery, and hours of physical therapy, ahead of him, but thanks to his dog and doctor, he knows he’ll be just fine.
“I’m so thankful for my two heroes,” Bob said. “Kelsey kept me warm, alert and never stopped barking for help. Dr. Colen saved my life and ability to move. They are truly heroes and I will be eternally grateful.”
Dogs are some of the most loving and loyal beings on this Earth. If you have one in your life, make sure you treat them extra kind this week.
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