A regular ride through her ranch property in Arizona took a frightening turn when the rider was thrown unconscious and dragged through the Arizona desert.
Only 500 yards from her home, Tracy Matkea was out for a ride when her horse suddenly became spooked and threw her off in an instant.
Her head hit the ground and knocked her unconscious. Her legs were trapped in the reins, so for more than half a mile Tracy was dragged by her horse along the rough desert terrain.
"I was probably dragged for about a quarter mile, and then the stirrup ended up coming apart and that's how I broke free," she said.
She suffered a fractured skull, and her scalp was pulled back to the bone in the process.
See what what happened on the next page.
Thankfully her dog, Becky Jo, was with her and sprung into action. The Australian Shepard/ Border Collie mix ran back to the house to get help, an action that saved her owner's life.
The riderless horse wandered back into the stables, not long before the trusty pup arrived barking for the attention of her husband and neighbor.
"My dog arrived home and she was acting very odd, so my husband and my neighbor jumped on the four-wheelers and she literally led them to where I was in the desert," said Tracy. "I was incoherent, but conscious, and bleeding."
Tracy was airlifted to the hospital where she was treated for a severed head artery, a broken facial bone, a major concussion, and severe facial and scalp lacerations.
"The doctors told me, 10 more minutes of bleeding. I would have lost too much blood," Matkea said. "We are very, very grateful for her. She saved my life."
See how the pup is being recognized as a hero on the next page.
"I'm very grateful to be alive," the retired teacher and active member of the Canadian rodeo circuit. Tracy has been training horses for barrel racing for decades and this is the first time she has ever been in this situation.
"I've ridden horses my whole life, but never had a near death experience," she said.
Originally from Alberta, Tracy and her husband Butch spend their winters in Wickenburg, Arizona where they tend to a small stable of horses.
Tracy rides colts all day-long and Becky Jo is by her side every time.
"She's an Australian shepherd/border collie. They're pretty high maintenance in the exercise department. So riding three horses six miles a day helps keep keep her energy under control," Tracy said.
Becky-Jo was rescued along with its sister Miss Kaye from a giveaway bin outside a feed store in Arizona when they were puppies, and it appears that the trusted dog returned the favor.
If it weren't for Becky-Jo, Tracy would have died.
"Becky saved her life. Words can't explain it," husband Butch said.
As a reward, the 4-year-old dog was inducted into the 2017 Purina Animal Hall of Fame. The award draws attention to dogs who perform life-saving and courageous acts. The family also receives a year's supply of dog food and a $5,000 reward.
BECKY JO "“ Purina Animal Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee
Becky Jo knew her owner was in trouble. You'll never guess what happened next... View more Purina Animal Hall of Fame stories here: https://www.purina.ca/hall-of-fame/Posted by Purina Canada on martes, 30 de mayo de 2017
Tracy has made almost a full recovery after having to get over 100 stitches and staples in her head and scalp. The 56-year old woman still suffers some post-concussive symptoms.
"She literally saved my life... We've always loved our dogs and I always knew she was an intelligent dog but I had no idea she was that smart," Matkea said.