Dog Hero of the Month- Meet Gabby


Red Zone
Barked: Mon May 11, '09 9:32pm PST 
This is a short story about a dog that we here consider to be a hero...

By Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer

Move over Lassie. A pit bull terrier has shown Auburn's Jim Roach that heroic dog deeds don't just happen in the movies or on TV.

Roach fell from a 12-foot-high ladder while picking peaches last month on his rural Mount Vernon Road property. Dazed and unable to move because of his injuries, he soon found renter Jeanne Davis' two-year-old pit bull Gabby hovering over him and

"I was unconscious pretty much," Roach said Tuesday. "I remember a dog licking the side of my face and standing by me and barking and barking and barking."

But nobody came. That's when Gabby did the heroically unexpected and went for help.

About 100 yards away and not able to see or hear Roach, Davis heard Gabby furiously barking and thought perhaps someone had entered the property. But Roach's dog, also nearby, wasn't barking.

Soon after she first noticed the barking, Gabby emerged.

"She's barking and then she looks at me and runs back," Davis said. "It's kind of like something Lassie would do."

So Davis followed Gabby. She found her landlord injured and moaning in pain near the pruning ladder.

"I walked over to where he was and Gabby stopped barking," Davis said.

With Roach immobilized on the ground, a California Highway Patrol helicopter was dispatched to transport the seriously injured college instructor to Roseville Medical Center's trauma unit for emergency treatment.

Roach, a College of San Mateo instructor, said doctors diagnosed multiple injuries from the fall, including a fractured clavicle, four broken ribs, two cracked vertebrae, and bleeding on the brain.

A towel wrapped around his head, Jason Williams-style, probably saved his life when his head hit the ground, Roach said.

Roach said he spent a week in hospital. One of the first visitors after discharge was Gabby. He said the two now seem to have formed a strong bond as a result of the rescue.

A psychology instructor, Roach said that the incident is a good example of the more endearing side of pit bulls that doesn't receive media attention.

"I've never felt they've been given a fair shake," he said. "They're just a terrier."

Davis said Gabby was abused before she adopted her. She's been training the dog to become less apprehensive around people.

"A lot of people said to put her down, that she's going to do something bad," Davis said. "I'm so proud of my dog."

From Dogs at Risk USA web site

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