A 9-month-old puppy named Zeus gave his own life to protect the family he loved, and now he’s being called a hero.
Gina Richardson told CNN on Sunday (September 29) that her 10-year-old son, Oriley, was playing in the backyard of their Florida home when Zeus abruptly jumped at him and started attacking something on the ground.
Oriley thought the pup had found a rope, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the 9-month-old pit bull discovered a venomous coral snake, and he was trying to keep it away from his young owner.
While Zeus fought with the snake, another one of Gina’s four children stepped outside. This time it was her 11-year-old son, Orion, who walked into the backyard to change the water in Zeus’ water dish.
Zeus panicked when he saw his other young friend, and in desperation, threw himself down on the snake. He laid down on the snake in the hopes that he would be able to keep it from hurting Orion and Oriley.
Eventually, Zeus managed to kill the snake by biting off its head and swallowing it. But he had been bitten by the snake four times, and the venom quickly took effect.
Gina said Oriley noticed Zeus’ eyes appeared “bugged out” after he protected them from the snake. The family rushed him to the vet, and he was given a dose of antivenom.
Sadly, the antivenom didn’t help, and Zeus passed away the day after he saved his young family members from the snake.
“I just started bawling,” Gina said. “My kids woke up and heard me crying and then they too started crying. We were all an emotional wreck.”
A Florida family is grieving their 9-month-old pit bull puppy after it died protecting two children from a venomous snake in their backyard. https://t.co/nmkfx7hKpn
— News 4, WIVB-TV (@news4buffalo) September 29, 2019
Gina knows that if it hadn’t been for Zeus, one of her sons may have been bitten by the snake. She considers her pup to be a hero, saying, “I feel like I may have lost one of my children had he not been there.”
The Richardson boys were definitely in danger, since coral snakes are extremely venomous. Tune in to the video below to learn how you can identify a coral snake, and what to do if you encounter one.
Our prayers go out to the Richardson family during this sad time. May Zeus rest in peace.