BREWSTER, NY – A service dog who leaped between his owner and an oncoming bus is recovering in a New York veterinary clinic after the incident on Monday.
Figo, an 8-year-old golden retriever, was crossing a street in Brewster with his legally blind owner, Audrey Stone, when a mini school bus approached the pair, CNN affiliate WCBS reported.
The dog was walking on Stone’s right side but switched sides and jumped between Stone and the vehicle, witnesses said. Both the dog and Stone were struck by the bus; the tires of the bus took off some of Figo’s fur, and the dog sustained injuries to his legs.
Stone, 62, broke an ankle, ribs and an elbow and has a head wound, according to CNN affiliate WPIX. She is being treated in a Danbury, Connecticut, hospital.
The Brewster Fire Department cared for Stone and her companion, whom witnesses said didn’t want to leave her side.
“He was trying, even though he was so hurt so badly, you know he was only on three legs at that time, he was still trying to get to the blind woman as much as he could,” witness Paul Schwartz told WCBS.
The driver stayed at the scene, according to WPIX. He’s been removed from duty while police investigate.
Figo is recovering at Middlebranch Veterinary. His heroics are getting him lots of attention, but his doctor can’t say whether he knew exactly what he was doing.
“I can’t explain it, whether he did that consciously or unconsciously, but it’s pretty amazing,” veterinarian LouAnn Pfeifer told WCBS.
Stone is grateful to her service dog. “I thank him, I thank God that I have him, and that he survived, too, and I love him,” she said.
Figo’s vets are trying to set up a video chat between the dog and its owner, WCBS reported. They hope seeing and hearing Stone will help Figo’s condition improve faster.
“I want to get home to my dog,” Stone said.