Last month in Victoria, Australia, Roary the Staffordshire bull terrier turned lifesaver when he saw a deadly brown snake rear to strike three-year-old Ebony Davis.
Roary jumped on the 1.5-metre snake, bit it and swung it clear of Ebony and her father in the backyard of their home. But the family pet's bravery almost cost its life. As Roary held on, the snake bit him repeatedly on the flanks and one ear before breaking free and slithering under a shed.
Ebony's father, Tim Davis, 38, said the dog "did a lap of honour around the yard, with his tail on high, and then he went in the house and collapsed".
"As I wiped the venom off his body, his legs gave way and his head came down on the floor," Mr Davis said. "There was no sign of life in him."
Mr Davis put Roary on the front seat of his car and rushed the dog 10km to Kangaroo Flat Veterinary Centre, near his home at Lockwood in central Victoria.
"He was quite still and I kept stopping to breathe some air into his nose, but I was sure he was a goner," Mr Davis said.
"When we got there, the vet told me how expensive the anti-venom was and how slim his chances were with so many bites.
"I said, 'Money doesn't matter; he's saved my little girl's life. Just get on with it. A minute later, needles were hanging out of him everywhere."
But 10-year-old Roary is a fighter and within two weeks after the attack, he was running in the yard like a puppy.The only sign of Roary's ordeal is some muscle wastage around his chest, but he is expected to recover.
"Ebony was feeding the guinea pigs in their enclosure when it happened," Mr. Davis said. "We'd lost three in the previous week and never dreamed it was a snake taking them.
"Suddenly the snake darted out from under the bush and reared up at Ebony. I had just grabbed her by the arm when Roary came belting in and latched on to the snake.
"He had it half way down its body, so its head was free and it kept thrashing round and biting him.
"It just slithered off and we haven't seen it since, so I reckon he killed it."