Sixteen-year-old Joseph Phillips-Garcia, his aunt, friend and cousin were returning form a fishing and wild potato-picking trip when tragedy struck. Thanks to Sako, the King Shepherd, he lived to tell the tale of his harrowing survival.
It Was A Fishing Trip Like Many Others
In June of 2014, a family road trip ended in disaster for one family in British Columbia. Their truck fell down a steep incline, killing everyone except a teenage boy and his dog. Joseph was very tired and had fallen asleep on the ride back home with Sako by his side. They were both thrown from the vehicle. Joseph sustained a compound fracture to his femur and a broken collar bone and could not move. The dog, on the other hand, wasn't hurt at all. He kept Joseph warm all night, helped him get to a creek for water and fought off coyotes. According to Joseph's mother: "Sako saved my son's life." (See: Hero Horse Saves Owners From Coyotes.)
In Joseph's own words: "I could feel the truck going over. I didn't really know what was going on. It all went black...I just cuddled up and covered myself with some rocks and fell asleep. Sako laid on top of me too. Kept me pretty warm." (See: Hero Retriever Saves Owner From Devastating Accident.)
Sako Is A King Shepherd
This relatively new dog breed is a king-sized shepherd hybrid that was developed in the 1990s by Americans Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer. It results from crossing the German Shepherd with the Shiloh Shepherd and the long-coated European lines of German Shepherd with Alaskan Malamute and Akita. They are much bigger than German Shepherds as well as stronger and more heavily muscled. Males can weigh between 130 and 150 pounds. (See: Pit Bull Rescues Baby From Fire.)
The Purina Hall Of Fame
Purina presented Sako's owners with a medal during a ceremony in Toronto, and he was inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame, joining 140 other canines, some cats and one horse. This annual event has been held for the last 47 years. A Purina spokesperson made a statement about the dog's achievements even though he was not present for the ceremony. It read:
"To help keep him warm, Sako lay close to Joseph and helped move wood closer to him so that he could make a fire with the lighter he had in his pocket. To keep him hydrated, the dog helped Joseph to drag himself to a nearby creek so that he could drink some water. To keep him safe, Sako ran into the bushes and surrounding area to fend off coyotes and other predatory animals that were circling the crash site, howling and posing an immediate threat to Joseph." (See: Black Lab Rescues Swimmer.)
Joseph said: "I don't really understand how I survived, but a part of it was Sako."
Good job, Sako!
Source: Washington Post