Winter weather is always risky. The snow, the ice, the blowing wind. So many things can go wrong, and it's too unpredictable to prepare for. When a Michigan man went to get another log for his fire on New Year's Eve, he never knew it would be a matter of life and death.
Bob, whose last name was not disclosed, went out to his yard to get another log about an hour before midnight. He was in his pajamas and slippers, and ended up slipping on the ice.
Upon impact, Bob broke his neck. He was unable to move so he began screaming for help. The temperature dropped to 24 degrees, and Bob was stuck lying in the snow.
But it was his dog who ended up saving his life.
'I was screaming for help but my nearest neighbor is about a quarter mile away and it was 10:30 p.m., but my Kelsey came,” explained Bob. “By morning my voice was gone and I couldn’t yell for help, but Kelsey didn’t stop barking.”
Kelsey laid on top of Bob to keep him warm, and she kept licking his hands and face to keep him awake.
“She kept barking for help but never left my side,” Bob said. “She kept me warm and alert. I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive.”
Bob did eventually lose consciousness, but nothing stopped Kelsey from barking. The next morning, a neighbor came over to collect some chicken eggs Bob had offered to him and found the man lying on the ground. He called 911 and Bob was rushed to the hospital.
According to the hospital, Bob was hypothermic by the time he arrived at the hospital. A surgeon immediately operated to relieve pressure on Bob's spine which was a success. There's still a long road to recovery, but Bob knows he'll make it through.
“He was very fortunate to have survived the circumstance of being in cold weather and having a warm body sustain him for that period of time,” said his neurosurgeon Dr. Chaim Colen. “He has a strong and a very positive personality and that’s what I like. A lot of people quickly end up in despair, and that’s very tragic. Maintaining that positivity is very important.”
“I was surprised to find out that I didn’t have any frostbite,” Bob said. “I am sure it was because of Kelsey’s determination.”
“He has marks on his arms from her pawing at him when he was losing consciousness," said the man’s daughter, Jenny. "It was like, she knew that he had to stay awake because if he fell asleep he wouldn’t wake up again."
“I am so thankful for my two heroes,” Bob said. “Kelsey kept me warm, alert, and never stopped barking for help. Dr. Colen saved my life and ability to move. They are truly heroes and I will be eternally grateful.”
Now, Bob is doing physiotherapy every day. But Jenny doesn't think he'll any issues with it.
"He’s just ready to work as hard as he can and get back to Kelsey and the farm and the horses. He’s always been a positive guy, which will be helpful in his recovery,” she said.
What a good girl, Kelsey!