On New Year's Eve, 64-year-old Bob of Michigan (USA) decided to go outside of his house and fetch more wood for his fireplace. As it would be a very quick errand, he ignored the cold outside and only wore long johns, a shirt and slippers. Unfortunately, his poor choice of footwear made him slip and break his neck.
He was unable to move and started screaming for help but there was no one around to help him. No one, except his golden retriever Kelsey!
“I was screaming for help, but my nearest neighbour is about a quarter-mile away and it was 10:30 p.m., but my Kelsey came,” Bob recalls. “By morning my voice was gone and I couldn’t yell for help, but Kelsey didn’t stop barking. She kept barking for help, but never left my side. She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that was my choice to stay alive.”
Bob remained paralysed in the snow for the next 20 hours, in temperatures below 25° F. During these long hours, Kelsey did everything she could to keep him alive, including lying on top of him to keep him warm, and constantly licking his face and hands to keep him awake. After 19 hours, Bob was unconscious but Kelsey kept barking and howling for help.
At 6:30 p.m. on New Year's Day, his neighbour Rick finally noticed the desperate howling, found Bob, and called for help. To the doctor’s #surprise, despite a core body temperature under 70° F and a C4-C5 disc herniation, Bob hadn't gotten frostbite to any of his extremities.
Spinal injuries usually result in permanent paralysis, but Bob was also incredibly fortunate to be able to move his arms and legs the very next morning after #surgery. Doctors don't know if it was the cold temperatures that ironically helped him, or the way he was laid down on the snow.
Kelsey remained home alone while Bob was rushed to the hospital. When Bob's daughter Jenny came home to check on her, she found that the golden retriever had brought all of Bob's clothes from the bedroom and made a 'tent' in the living room!
“I knew I had to get to Kelsey because I knew how scared she must’ve been without him there.” says Jenny. Kelsey and Bob are inseparable, and go everywhere together!
Kelsey was 6-months-old when Bob adopted her. “The breeder was going to keep her and use her to breed, but Kelsey came up and jumped on my lap and looked at me and my Dad and I just said she’s coming home with us, she’s not having babies the rest of her life for some breeder. We always knew there was a reason we brought her home with us, and I think now we know why.”