Good Dog! Golden Retriever Saves Owner Who Fell and Broke His Neck in Icy Cold

Kelsey licked her owner's face and sat on top of him to keep him warm.

A Michigan man lay sprawled on the ground, just 15 feet from his front door, paralyzed after slipping on ice-slicked stairs and breaking his neck.

For more than 20 hours, his loyal golden retriever, Kelsey, didn’t move either; she licked his face and hands, spread her body over his, and stayed with him in the freezing cold until a neighbor happened upon them.

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"He was kept warm and alive," Dr. Chaim Cohen, a neurosurgeon at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital, told Thursday. The dog owner was "very fortunate." 

His patient, who asked to only be identified as Bob, suffered three herniated discs and had a core temperature below 70 degrees. In surgery, Cohen removed portions of the discs pressing on his spinal cord, but didn’t know if those measures would lessen Bob’s paralysis.

As it turns out, they did.

"He has done very well," Dr. Cohen said. "People don’t usually recover so fast."

Bob is now walking and undergoing intensive therapy at a rehabilitation center. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Bob fell on New Year’s Eve at about 10:30 p.m. He had been watching football, and stepped outside to quckly pick up some firewood. He was wearing long johns, a shirt and slippers.

After slipping on the icy snow and falling hard, he couldn’t move his legs or arms. He began screaming for help, he told hospital staff, but his nearest neighbor is a quarter-mile away.

It was Kelsey who came running. She laid on top of him and licked him, and barked liked crazy.

Bob’s voice eventually gave out, but Kelsey’s didn’t.

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“She was letting out this screeching howl,” Bob told medical workers. His neighbor found him at 6:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day when he came over to borrow some eggs.

Kelsey continued her vigilance at the hospital, where she posed for photos with Bob’s doctors and licked her owner’s face, just above his new neck brace.

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