Foster Dog Saves Toddler from Rattlesnake, Needs Forever Home

Several months ago, Vandy, a 5-year-old boxer, was within hours of being euthanized in a Dallas-area shelter. An intake coordinator from Austin Boxer Rescue saw...


Vandy after being treated for her rattlesnake bite. She was swollen and in pain for days.

Several months ago, Vandy, a 5-year-old boxer, was within hours of being euthanized in a Dallas-area shelter. An intake coordinator from Austin Boxer Rescue saw her sweet face and couldn’t let her die. She took her back to Austin and placed her in foster to embark on a new life.

What goes around comes around. The other day, Vandy stepped between her foster family’s young toddler and a rattlesnake that was just a foot away. The dog took the venom, and saved the child. It was a close call, but the heroic dog is going to make it after $1,400 in vet bills.

She was given life, and she passed it forward. From the account on the Austin Boxer Rescue website, and the interview with the parents in the video below, Vandy clearly knew what she was doing. This wasn’t a fluke.

Vandy is still up for adoption. She is a sweetie, great with kids, not so great with cats, and she’s heartworm positive. If you want to have a real-life heroine for your best friend, go to Vandy’s page and learn about how to make that happen, and how to donate to help defray the high medical bills. (I don’t know why the family is not keeping the dog who saved their child’s life, but I think they are regular fosters who want to keep their doors open so they can save more lives.)

Update, Sept 28: I heard back from Austin Boxer Rescue’s president and intake coordinator, Jennifer Pope, about why Vandy is still looking for a home. Here’s what she wrote:

I truly hope that Vandy’s story will help people understand the unique and rewarding relationship that we, as fosters, share with these magnificent dogs. I understand that many people are upset that the family is not keeping Vandy, but it takes a certain type of person to become a foster. I have heard the same words echoed time and time again, “I could never foster a dog because I would want to keep them all.” People that get into fostering long term love what they do and have developed the ability to open their home to dogs knowing they can’t keep them all and the only way to save them is allow them to get adopted. This family is actually an experienced foster and they have had many dogs in and out of their home. On the way to the emergency room they told me about Vandy saving their child they described her as “their hero.” Since they are long time fosters the thought never crossed my mind that they would keep her, that’s how fosters think. I know it’s a concept that many people have a hard time understanding. This experience with Vandy actually reinforced their need to continue to foster. This has been such a positive experience for them that they feel, more than ever, the overwhelming need to be available to give a dog a second chance. They feel the same way I do, that if everyone keeps their foster there would be no one left to save the next Vandy. This family absolutely LOVES Vandy and they have already expressed concern about wanting her to go to the PERFECT forever family. Again, I hope this will help people understand the beauty and joy of fostering and consider helping a rescue or shelter in their area.

It makes sense to me. If all fosters were like I was with Jake, fostering would come grinding to a halt. After our wonderful old Airedale died in 2002, we waited a month and decided that we would foster, so we would help other dogs and not commit to another lifetime dog so quickly. The intake coordinator for a small foster brought Jake to our house as our first foster, and as soon as he walked in, I knew I was not going to let him go anywhere. Love at first sight is great for adoption, but it takes a lot more strength to be a good foster.

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