A family dog took a rattlesnake bite for a 7-year-old girl in Florida, potentially sacrificing himself to save her life.
Young Molly DeLuca was in the backyard with her 2-year-old German Shepard, Haus, and her grandma when she stumbled upon the rattlesnake, Fox News reports.
"She saw him jump back, and go forward, and jump back and go forward," described Molly’s mother, Donya. "He was just, kind of, holding his ground.”
"Just based on temperament, he was standing up for my daughter, he was standing between, he didn't budge," she added. "He kept taking hits, she was on the other side of him, and so was my mom."
The rattlesnake ended up biting the dog three times, injecting a large amount of dangerous venom into his blood.
"Next thing we know is, there's blood and he was limping and crying," Donya added.
The family was shocked by the dog’s bravery.
"I feel really grateful for the dog," said Donya. "It is frightening to think it could have been my daughter. I don't know if she would have made it."
Yet perhaps it was second-nature to a dog who loved his family very much.
"The bond that [he and Molly] have created in a short time has been unbelievable," Donya said.
Now that the dog is fighting for his life, the family is as touched as they are scared.
"I couldn't even sleep last night. I barely slept because it is bittersweet. I am doing everything I can. I feel like I owe it to him to keep trying to save him,” Donya said.
The family has created a GoFundMe account to help pay for the animal’s medical expenses, which keep rising.
“The vet treatment has been extremely expensive. He’s been given multiple vials of anti-venom. The vet bills are already at $10,000 and the treatment is not finished. His vitals are strong, his organs are functioning and if they can afford enough anti-venom he will recover with no ill-effects,” they write.
“Anything you can do to help is appreciated,” they added. “This family would never ask for help, but Haus is like family and they desperately want to save him.”