A 3-year-old Labrador being cared for by a Florida woman whose son-in-law is deployed to a Madrid naval base is being credited with saving the woman's life.
Gudrun Mastriano of Kissimmee said she was walking Dante, the Labrador, only a week before he was scheduled to join her daughter, Charlotte Eierle, and son-in-law, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Carl Eierle, in Spain when the pair found themselves face to face with a venomous cottonmouth snake, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Thursday.
Mastriano said the dog leaped to her rescue when the snake lunged toward her and dragged the reptile away. Dante was bitten on his face and leg while struggling with the snake and Mastriano took the injured canine to an emergency veterinarian.
"It could have been me," Mastriano said. "I would have died."
Dante was treated with antivenin and was given seven treatments in the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy unit over the course of two months.
Dante is now on his way to Spain as a "traveling hero," Mastriano said.