Michigan Jack Russell Terrier Taz Saves Woman from Freezing to Death

 |  Dec 20th 2007  |   4 Contributions


Happy barks for hero Taz!

Thanks to MLive.com for this article.

Dog rescues Saginaw Township woman
Posted by Dean Bohn December 18, 2007

A dog is man's best friend, but Taz, a Jack Russell terrier mix, proved he's also a woman's best friend.


If it weren't for the insistent barking and whining of the dog, his owner would not have let him go out -- where he made a beeline for neighbor Mary Hartman, 91, of Saginaw Township, who had fallen on ice and couldn't move.

Judy M. Sawatzki, 78, the dog's owner, said Hartman's legs "were nearly purple, and her (fractured) hand was purple."

With temperatures in the low 20s, Hartman was freezing to death, said her sister, Lillian D. Haenlein, 78, of Saginaw Township.

Hartman, who lives in Lawndale Estates, decided around 1 p.m. Saturday to give her neighbor cookies left over from the previous evening's Christmas party with her family.

"She's a very good cook and has a generous heart of giving," Haenlein said. "Her neighbor had moved in about six months ago, an elderly gentleman and his daughter."

She had delivered the cookies, but upon returning home, slipped on ice -- breaking her wrist and shoulder and injuring her hip, Haenlein said.

"She was yelling for help, but no one was around. No one could hear her," Haenlein said.

Except Taz.

Taz was barking and whining and running back and forth between the window and Sawatzki, who lives across the street from Hartman.

Taz was starting to annoy her, she said.

"He's about 3 years old. I got him from my granddaughter and her boyfriend, who wanted to get rid of him," Sawatzki said. "I needed some companionship, so I took him."
Taz wouldn't let up.

"Finally I said, 'OK, let's go,' and I took him outside," Sawatzki said.

Taz ran up to Hartman, then part way back to Sawatzki.

"Taz kept looking at me, whining, then ran back across the street, but all I could see was a snow bank," Sawatzki said.

Then she heard Hartman's voice: "Help me, help me, Tazy."

"I yelled, 'Mary? Is that you?' " Sawatzki said, "and she yelled, 'Help me, help me!' So I yelled, 'I can't see you. Where are you?' and then she raised her head above the snow bank."

Sawatzki learned that Hartman was on the cold ground for 30 minutes or more. "Oh, I get panicky every time I think about it," Sawatzki said.

Sawatzki took off her coat and covered Hartman with it, then went next door to have the neighbors call 911 and bring blankets.

"I didn't want to move her because I didn't know where she was hurt, so we tried to keep her warm and waited for the ambulance," she said.

Emergency crews arrived and took Hartman to Covenant Medical Center in Saginaw, where she underwent surgery about noon Sunday.

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