Small but Mighty: Chihuahua and Jack Russell Mix Saves Owner From Train!

Hook, a Chihuahua and Jack Russell mix service dog, is a bonafide hero. In July 2016, Hook pulled his hearing-impaired owner off train tracks in busy downtown Sacramento, California, just seconds before a fast-moving train rushed by them. The 10-year-old, 12-pound canine went far beyond his basic training to save Joyce Herman’s life, as the train was within inches of striking her.

Days after his wife’s brush with danger, Joyce’s husband Dan was still amazed at Hook’s intuition and quick response. Hook and Herman were crossing a K Street intersection when the rapid transit train came up behind them. Herman, who has only a 50 percent hearing capacity for outdoor sounds, did not hear or see the train approaching. The dog and owner were in the middle of the street when Hook tried to warn Herman of the danger by jumping up and down, but she didn’t seem to get the message. Realizing his efforts weren’t working, and with time running out, Hook used all of his force to tug his owner across the tracks, out of the path of the oncoming train. Mr. Herman noted that Hook has basic command training and is licensed but was never trained to take someone off railroad tracks. He credits Hook with intuitive actions that saved his wife’s life.


Hook’s name is derived from the fictional character Captain Hook, in the beloved children’s story of Peter Pan. The canine Hook’s daring rescue of his owner earned him a position as one of eight national finalists for the American Humane Association’s 2016 “Hero Dog Awards.” The association presents the awards annually in the fall. No matter what, Hook will always be a hero in the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Herman. Hook and dogs like him embody faithfulness, strength, and determination, all wrapped up in a furry package of love. No wonder people say if you want a friend, get a dog. Read about another hero dog who saved his owner.

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