On a sub-freezing New Year’s Eve in north Michigan, a Golden Retriever named Kelsey used her body heat to keep alive her owner, who had fallen and couldn’t move.
Jennifer Earl reports for CBS News, Jan. 11, 2017, that on New Year’s Eve, the temperature dropped below in snowy, icy northern Michigan.
A man named Bob ran out of his house in pajamas and slippers to grab another log for his fireplace. But he slipped and fell in the snow, breaking his neck, and could not move.
He screamed for help, but the only one who heard his cry was his Golden Retriever, Kelsey.
“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. 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. She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive.”
The temperature dipped to 24 degrees as Bob lay paralyzed in the snow. Kelsey used her body heat to prevent her human from freezing to death by lying on top of him and licking his face and hands to keep him awake. Eventually, however, Bob lost consciousness. But Kelsey kept barking through the long night.
The next day, Bob’s neighbor found him and called 911.
By the time Bob arrived at the McLaren Northern Michigan Emergency Department in Petoskey, Michigan, he was hypothermic — with a core body temperature under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Garbed only in his pyjamas, he had beenin the sub-freezing snow for 20 hours. Bob said, “I was surprised to find out that I didn’t have any frostbite. I am sure it was because of Kelsey’s determination.”
Neurosurgeon Dr. Chaim Colen 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. Bob said:
“I’m so thankful for my two heroes. 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.”
Good dog, Kelsey!