A heroic dog from Ipswich, Australia, is still recovering at a local veterinarian after saving his family's two young girls from a venomous snake that slithered into their backyard, the Queensland Times reports.
Michelle Lynch, 7, and Kaylee Lynch, 2, were headed to their backyard swingset, unaware that a brown snake -- one of the world's deadliest snakes whose venom can easily kill an adult human -- was right below the swings.
That's when the family's 18-month-old Australian cattle dog River sprang into action.
"They were going out to play on the swings and Michelle got two steps out the door and yelled out 'snake,'" the girls' mother, Catherine Lynch, told the paper. "As soon as she yelled, [River] bolted out, grabbed the snake and killed it. I think it was probably Michelle's tone of voice, River picked up that something wasn't right and she didn't hesitate."
Only later did the family realize that River had been bitten by the snake after she began showing signs of paralysis. They grabbed the snake's body from the trash bin and rushed River to the local veterinary clinic, where she received life-saving treatment.
Days later, River is making a full recovery, though Catherine Lynch says her daughters are still traumatized by the incident.
"They're obviously upset about the dog,'' Lynch told the Herald Sun. "I think the youngest didn't really know what had happened, but she threw a tantrum when we got home because River wasn't with us.The eldest has been asking a lot of questions about what happened."
Despite Australia's reputation for having some of the deadliest snakes in the world, most hospitalizations from bites and stings result from run-ins with spiders and bees, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Welfare and Health.
In the period between 2002 and 2005, there were 11,602 cases of hospitalization from bites and stings, only 15 percent of which were attributed to venomous snakes.
According the Courier Mail, 2 to 3 Australians per year die from snakes bites, with brown snakes accounting for half of those deaths.