This Brave Dog Risks His Own Life to Save a 7-Year-Old Girl
Dogs have a long-known history of loyalty, earning them the nickname “man’s best friend” due to their devotion. And Haus, a newly adopted German Shepherd, went beyond ordinary protection and exceeded expectations by saving his family’s 7-year-old daughter.
Read on and learn more about the amazing and unique tale of Haus, the heroic hound.
Haus The Rescue Dog
Donya DeLuca from Tampa, Florida, adopted a 2-year-old German Shepherd, Haus, in 2016 from the local animal rescue Heidi’s Legacy Dog Rescue. However, upon bringing the young pup home, her husband, Adam, turned out to be quite skeptical.
The reason for Adam’s reaction was due to the fact that Donya had adopted Haus very soon after losing their previous family dog of 13 years, as reported to Today. But even though Adam initially doubted the adoption, Donya couldn’t resist rescuing Haus. She was ready to welcome another dog into their home.
Haus Became A Member Of The Family
Haus translates to “home” in German. And fittingly, Haus was welcomed wholeheartedly into the DeLuca home from the moment he entered their lives. He made an immediate impact and bonded with Donya and Adam, as well as their two children, seven-year-old Molly and four-year-old Joey. The family was taken aback by how quickly Haus became a fixture in their lives.
Donya described Haus as a “goofy, happy go-lucky-dog” with an infectious personality. He quickly won the hearts of everyone in the family, as well as the neighbors. The family was grateful to have him in their lives.
More Than Just A Family Pet
Haus became more to the family than just a pet. He also acted as a protector for the family due in large part to his inherent German Shepherd instincts. At night, he would watch over the kids and follow them around, making him a perfect playmate for the DeLuca children.
Donya and Adam initially saw this behavior as a cute and endearing trait. They certainly never expected his protectiveness to play such a crucial role in saving one of their children’s lives.
Had Haus Become Dangerous?
One day, young Molly was playing outside with Haus by her side as usual as her grandmother observed them from inside the house through a screen door. However, Haus’ behavior suddenly caught the grandmother’s attention when he started to act strangely, repeatedly jumping back and then forward.
Donya’s mother grew concerned because Haus was still new to the family, and she feared he was acting aggressively. She later recounted the events to WFLA, explaining how the dog jumped back and then forward three times. She was on alert and worried about the safety of her granddaughter.
Haus Was Not The One To Blame
To Donya’s recollection, the initial moments of the incident that ensued were chaotic and confusing. Molly and her grandmother were unaware of what Haus was trying to alert them to when suddenly, blood appeared–a great deal of blood, in fact.
The grandmother called Donya immediately, and Donya could hear her children crying over the phone. The news was devastating–Haus had been bitten by a snake three times on his right front leg. The situation was dire, and Donya had to act immediately to save her dear pet.
Haus’ Sacrifice For His Family
As told by Donya, Molly encountered a snake while playing in the backyard. The snake was poised for attack and even attempted to strike at Molly, but Haus bravely jumped in to protect the young and helpless child. He placed himself between Molly and the snake.
Haus had selflessly put himself in harm’s way to prevent the snake from hurting Molly or her grandmother. But, unfortunately, the snake succeeded in its attack, biting Haus three times, causing him to weaken with each bite.
The Fight For Haus’ Life
When Donya arrived home, she was shocked by Haus’ condition. He was struggling to walk, hardly able to limp, and his head hung as he drooled uncontrollably. The snake bites had nearly incapacitated the dog, even with his weight of 68 pounds. Donya couldn’t imagine the harm to seven-year-old Molly had Haus not intervened.
Donya rushed Haus to BluePearl, a 24-hour veterinary clinic in Tampa. Donya was determined to do everything she could to save her dog. With Haus in the care of experienced veterinarians, the family could only hope for the best.
A Rare And Life-Threatening Bite
Haus had been inflicted with extremely severe snake bites, believed to be from an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, one of North America’s most venomous snakes. Bites from diamondbacks can be fatal to both humans and animals.
According to veterinarian Danielle Pollio, snake venom causes issues with blood clotting, leading to uncontrolled bleeding from the wound. The mortality rate for dogs bitten by Eastern diamondbacks is a staggering 30%, and Haus had the misfortune of being bitten three times. Despite the odds against him, Haus fought bravely and was in the capable hands of BluePearl.
The Dog’s Body Was Filled With Deadly Venom
Haus’ condition had deteriorated significantly upon arriving at the veterinary clinic. The sheer amount of venom in his system was alarming. The vets immediately administered nine vials of antivenin, but this wasn’t enough to fully combat the effects of snake bites.
The vets hooked him up to a constant IV drip of antivenin to ensure Haus received the necessary treatment. This was a substantial amount, as most dogs receive only two doses for snake bites. Despite the severity of his condition, Haus never lost his spirit. He still wagged his tail whenever a member of the DeLuca family neared his kennel.
A Miraculous Recovery For The Canine Hero
Even in his critical state, Haus showed remarkable resilience and managed to survive the ordeal. The vets were astounded by his progress and stability just days later. Donya was amazed by her dog, stating that “it’s semi-miraculous” and that Haus had a tremendous personality that drove him to keep going.
Haus’ red blood count and kidney function were still low, but he didn’t sustain any lasting effects. But there was a lasting impact on the DeLuca family.
Mounting Vet Bills Left The Family Desperate
As loving dog owners, the DeLucas were, of course, determined to do everything they could to save Haus. However, as his treatment went on, the veterinary costs escalated, reaching a daunting amount of thousands of dollars. This was an expense that the family simply could not afford.
Donya and Adam were indebted to and deeply committed to the dog who bravely protected their daughter. However, they were at a loss for how to cover the funds to save Haus’ life.
A Public Plea For Help
Cherissa Vandergriff, who has an unknown relationship with the DeLuca family, initiated a GoFundMe campaign on May 11th, 2016, to raise funds for Haus’ treatment. Titled “Help Save Haus (Rattlesnake Attack),” the fundraising goal was $28,000.
In the campaign description, Cherissa stated that Haus’ veterinary bills had already accumulated to $10,000, and the treatment was far from complete. She emphasized that Haus’ vital signs were strong and his organs were functioning, and with sufficient antivenin doses, he could fully recover without any long-term effects.
Can A GoFundMe Campaign Save Haus?
Cherissa shared Haus’s story on the GoFundMe page and wrote about how Haus bravely protected Molly from the snake. She also wrote that the DeLuca family would never ask for help but needed support in saving Haus. Her message struck a chord and began to spread online.
This sweet dog was brought to this family for a reason, the campaign read. Luckily, the family’s efforts to save Haus and give him the care he deserved caught people’s attention worldwide. Many showed their support by donating to the GoFundMe campaign.
Above And Beyond What The Family Could Have Imagined
Haus’s GoFundMe page was an overwhelming success and attracted an outpouring of support from around the world. In a mere five days, the page received an incredible $51,329 in donations–far surpassing the original goal. The story of the heroic canine was shared widely on Facebook and covered by numerous news outlets.
The response was immense, with over 1,800 people donating in hopes of saving Haus’s life. In fact, so much support came in that the DeLuca family was forced to close the donation page to prevent further contributions.
The DeLucas Were Overwhelmed
Unsurprisingly, the DeLuca family was flooded with emotion, appreciation, and a general sense of overwhelmedness from the GoFundMe campaign. They were struck by the fact that strangers, even all the way in Sweden, donated to Haus.
The outpouring of support allowed Haus to make a full recovery. Thanks to the donations, he received the necessary treatment and ended up without permanent damage. The family was grateful for the kindness and generosity of countless strangers. The experience taught their children about the goodness of people and showed them the power of compassion.
Welcome Home, Haus!
On May 18th, just a week after the snake attack, Haus’s vet provided a positive update. Dr. Jennifer Holm said to Good Morning America, “We hope that Haus will get to go home today. We are doing a couple more checks on him early this afternoon, and, fingers crossed, we hope that he will get to go home either today or tomorrow.”
Haus’ tale of bravery had captivated thousands of people around the world, and the news of his recovery brought joy to many who knew his story.
How A Hero Lives
The DeLuca family kept everyone who donated informed about Haus’ positive progress. They established the Facebook page “Haus the Hero Dog,” with a photo showing Haus wearing a cone full of signatures and looking content. To recover full use of his leg, Haus underwent physical therapy.
The Facebook page wrote updates on Haus’s progress, noting initially, he was tripping while trying to trot and was unable to jump on their bed which was his favorite spot. However, by June, he could jump again, exhibiting playful and affectionate behavior.
Leftover Donations Help Others
With Haus happily back home, the DeLuca family obviously no longer required the excess funds from online donations. So they chose to donate the remainder of the money raised to Heidi’s Legacy Rescue, the organization from which they adopted Haus, plus other animal shelters.
On their GoFundMe page, the family directed donors to Heidi’s Legacy Rescue, hoping to inspire others to adopt dogs from shelters. “Find your own Haus,” they wrote, as a clever form of encouragement.
Spreading An Important Message
Donya admirably used the popularity of Haus’ story to promote adult dog adoption. She used their notoriety as a platform to express what she viewed to be important animal issues. She felt people tended to prioritize puppies, but adult dogs like Haus deserved homes too.
She truly hoped her family’s story would inspire others to find their own Haus–a loyal and cute companion. Haus certainly proved to be both adorable and brave, solidifying his status as a four-legged hero.
Haus Plus One
The DeLuca family updated their followers on Haus’s life in May 2017 on their Facebook page. Haus was reported to be “happy and healthy” with little lasting impact and playing normally without his cone.
The family also adopted another German Shepherd from Heidi’s Legacy–Elke. Despite Elke’s troubled past, she and Haus have since become good friends, and both dogs now have the happy lives they deserve. What a heartwarming end for the rescue pups!