The history of dogs intervening to save human lives has become so ingrained in popular culture that the story of Lassie alerting the townsfolk a child has tumbled into a well reached the status of urban legend. In the latest case of real-life dog heroism, a black Labrador helped rescue a neighbor with his incessant barking (video below).
Mack, a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, was never known for kicking up a fuss or barking up a storm. When his owner's neighbor, an elderly woman, had a stroke and was rendered immobile, the usually passive dog launched into action by finding his bark, according to Shareably.
On Jan. 17, 67-year-old Marcia Allen went into her backyard in Bettendorf, Iowa. Nursing an atrial fibrillation heart condition, she had a sudden stroke and fell to the ground, unable to call for help.
"I couldn't speak, my face was drooping," Allen told WQAD. "I had no feeling on my left side. A clot came off the heart and went to my brain."
In an extraordinary stroke of good timing, Allen's neighbor had let his dog out into his backyard to relieve himself. Mack noticed the woman, who was unable to get up off the ground, through the chain link fence separating the yards. Going against his usual mellow demeanor, the black Labrador began to bark and would not let up.
The dog's newfound bark caught the attention of his owner, Dave Scott, who was just about to leave home to drive his children to school.
"I was like what's with the barking?" Scott recalled. "It's not normal, cause he's never done that before. If he would not have done that, there's no way I would have gone outside."
Initially just annoyed by Mack's barking, Scott told his daughter to go investigate. Once he heard Allen was rolling around on the ground, he went outside and discovered that something was deeply amiss and called 911
After receiving medical attention, Allen is recovering from her stroke. She remains deeply grateful for Mack's intervention, noting that without him, "I could have been laying out there for a long time."
"He was just wonderful," Allen told Inside Edition. "He was a hero. It was like this sixth sense. It was like he was saying, 'I'm not going to stop until someone comes out here.'"
Following Allen's rescue, Mack has become a local celebrity. Scott says the attention showered on his Labrador hasn't changed the dog one bit.
"He's still got the same bad breath he's always had," Scott said. "But now he's famous."