Giving his owner a second chance at life, a courageous canine named Astro demonstrated the ultimate example of unconditional love.
Shortly after Astro and his owner left their El Paso home Wednesday, Astro's owner was in urgent need of medical attention, according to the El Paso Fire Department's (EPFD) Facebook page. Quickly jumping into action, "the smart pup immediately went to look for help," the department says.
Luckily, someone spotted Astro barking. Acting more like a guardian angel than a dog, Astro then guided this good Samaritan to his owner, getting the passerby to contact emergency personnel.
"Thanks to this, Pumper 15 and Rescue 31 were able to assist and transport the patient, saving his life," EPFD says.
A fire department official also told local reporters Astro was so concerned about his owner that he tried to hop into the departing ambulance.
Astro's baffled owners told KTSM they were surprised by their dog's heroic act because they never trained him for emergency situations. "We never thought in a million years he'd do something like that," Bertha Martinez, Astro's owner and mother of the victim, told the TV station.
Changing Hearts and Minds
You see, about a year ago Astro was just a stray dog on the streets of El Paso until Martinez rescued him. According to KFOX14, she wasn't quite sure about her new life as a pet parent.
"To be honest I've always been scared of pit bulls and when we brought him home, I wasn't sure we would keep him for a long time," she said.
Now she's thanking her lucky stars for deciding to give the pup a chance. Because of Astro, her son is alive and recovering. And because of Martinez, Astro will be forever loved by his new family.
"He set an example for a lot of dogs that look just like him. The perfect example of looking past that exterior and truly seeing for the good quality that these pets carry," Ramon Herrera, interim director for El Paso Animal Services, said at the ceremony honoring Astro.
The EPFD recognized Astro for saving his owner's life with an event fit for a true hero, awarding the pit bull a medal of honor and a special dog cake. Supporters came together to show their love for this brave four-legged friend.
Astro's life-saving story sheds a positive light on a breed that's not always been so lucky. Historically, pit bulls have faced discrimination and often wait to be adopted in shelters longer than other dog breeds. Legislation banning bully breeds from living in certain cities and towns (called breed-specific legislation) also negatively impacts pit bulls despite there being no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or animals. But every day, more dogs like Astro continue to change the hearts and minds of people who hear about their heroic deeds and learn to see a hero instead of a threat.
The EPFD said it best: "Who's the goodest boy of them all?"