‘Service Dog’ Risks Life to Protect Blind Owner (But They’re Both OK)

Witnesses say although "Figo" was hurt, he refused to leave the side of his injured, blind owner.
Witnesses say although “Figo” was hurt, he refused to leave the side of his injured, blind owner.


*Just the other day, when a friend was near tears as she made the decision to euthanize her elderly pet, we spoke of the unconditional love animals give. We never have to worry about them holding a grudge after we’ve yelled at them. They don’t ever betray or judge us.

And all they ask in return is for us to love them back.

And “Figo” — the Golden Retriever service dog whose owner is blind — is no different. He recently risked his life to protect her by literally throwing himself in front of a mini school bus.

But that wasn’t all. Witnesses say the animal then stayed by her side; even while emergency responders tended to them both, according to authorities.

 Figo and his owner, Audrey Stone, were recuperating as of Tuesday; one day after the collision with the mini school bus in Brewster, New York.

Police photos of Monday’s crash showed fur stuck to the bus’ front wheel, according to the Journal News.

“The dog took a lot of the blow,” Brewster Police Chief John Del Gardo said. “And he did not want to leave her side. He stood right with her. He was there to save her.”


Two children, kindergarteners, were on the bus. But they suffered no injuries.The driver of the school bus claims he didn’t see the pair crossing the road. He was given a summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian.

“The dog didn’t want to leave her side,” said Paul Schwartz, who manages a gas station nearby. “He was flopping over to her, and she didn’t want him to get away from her, either. She kept screaming” Figo’s name, said Schwartz. “We kept telling her he was fine.”

“He let us wrap up his leg without any problem. He wasn’t barking or crying or yelping. But he kept pulling toward her,” Schwartz said.

Rules did not allow Figo in the ambulance; but he was taken to the veterinarian in a fire vehicle. Both Figo and Stone are said to have been visibly upset by the separation, Schwartz said.

Stone, 62, suffered a broken ankle, elbow and ribs and a head wound and was still hospitalized Tuesday in Danbury, Connecticut, the police chief said.

Figo underwent surgery and has a leg splint. According to Schwartz, Figo’s leg was cut down to the bone and he will stay at the Vet hospital until Stone is able to care for him.

In the meantime, the bus driver has been taken off duty pending an investigation. The minibus dashboard cameras — along with camera from another bus that was in the area at the time, will be reviewed, according to Steven Moskowitz, Brewster’s assistant superintendent for human resources and technology.



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