Bear is a 4-year-old black Labrador retriever who lives in Marcellus, Michigan. He is a hero: On Sunday, Bear saved 14-month-old Stanley Drauch when the toddler fell into the family pool. In the words of Stanley’s grateful mother, Patricia Drauch,
Bear put his back underneath Stanley’s back to keep him from going under any farther. I don’t know where I’d be if Bear didn’t go in for him and keep him up out of the water before I could get to him.
Drauch told WBND-TV that her little son ”usually follows us around.” She had gone into her garage “to put away some stuff and came back out. Just in a moment he wasn’t behind me.”
Credit Bear’s quick thinking and superfast response for saving Stanley.
The toddler was blue and not breathing when Drauch pulled him out of the water from Bear’s back. Stanley was hospitalized and released later on Sunday; his mother said that x-rays showed he hadn’t “suffered any ill-effects from his near-death experience.”
But needless to say, what Drauch experienced on Sunday was every parent’s nightmare. Summer has just started but there have already been too many reports of children drowning: On Tuesday night, 4-year-old twins Luke and Mark Nguyen were found drowned in their grandmother’s pool in Arlington, Texas. The boys and their father had gone to check on their grandmother who has diabetes; Luke and Mark apparently slipped “unnoticed” into their grandmother’ back yard and into the pool.
Drownings are the second-highest cause of death for children after motor vehicle accidents, says New York Times columnist Jane Brody. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, for each year from 2005 to 2009, an average of 3,880 people died by drowning — that is more than ten a day. Emergency rooms treat an estimated 5,789 people a year for nonfatal drowning. Children under five can drown in only inches of water and, if they survive, they may suffer permanent brain damage.
No surprise that New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe created a program for the city’s second-graders to have swimming lessons, after growing weary of hearing of tragic stories like those of the Nyugen twins.
It’s an understatement to say that Stanley was lucky that Bear acted so quickly. Animals like Bear are why, as the saying goes, dogs are humankind’s best friend.
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