Tater Tot is a 15-year-old dog who lost one leg to cancer, but this hasn’t affected the Pomeranian/Jack Russell mix’s ability to get around. The spunky senior dog–whose owner describes him as “full of spirit” despite his small size–still insists on going everywhere with his owner, Tom Kissel.
The Pennsylvania man was certainly grateful to have Tater Tot on board during a recent boating trip on the Allegheny River. According to TribLive, the boat was hit by a swell that knocked the 76-year-old man unconscious and overboard.
When the dog saw his owner fall into the river, Tater Tot didn’t stop to think about how his missing leg might affect his ability to swim. The senior pup promptly jumped right into the river after his human and started frantically paddling. Tater Tot’s quick actions saved his human’s life.
The bedraggled pup caught the attention of a fellow boater, Mary Jo Lender, who could immediately tell something was wrong. “The dog splashing in the water caught our attention,” said Mary Jo, who was docking her boat with her husband nearby. “Then, I noticed he (Tater Tot’s owner) was underwater.”
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
Thankfully, Mary Jo isn’t just a Good Samaritan. She’s also a veteran cardiac nurse trained to save lives in times of crisis. After fellow boaters helped fish the unconscious man from the river, Mary Jo gave the elderly man CPR on the dock until medics arrived.
“I had limited hope that it would be a good outcome,” Mary Jo told the paper. “It was a dire situation. I knew it wasn’t good.”
Fortunately, medics arrived with a defibrillator, which helped shock the elderly man’s heart back into rhythm. The man was quickly rushed to the hospital where he received additional care.
When Tom finally awoke from his coma, he didn’t remember much from the incident. All he knows for sure is that Tater Tot and a kind stranger helped save his life. “It was like I went to sleep and woke up,” said the dog’s grateful owner. “I owe my life to them.”
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →