A six-year-old Great Pyrenees-Labrador mix is being hailed a hero after helping a boy with autism stay afloat during when floodwaters flooded Tennessee.
Cooper got swept into the water during last month’s devastating flood that has left at least 22 people dead and hundreds of homes and businesses crushed across the region.
When the pair was found, Cooper was nestled up to the boy who was holding on for dear life onto a wall. Luckily, authorities got to them in time, and they were later removed from danger aboard rescue boats.
Zaneta Warren, who watched Cooper until they could get him to a clinic, revealed how the dog saved the boy’s life in a post on the Concerned Citizens of Humphreys County Facebook group.
The boy told her he was hanging onto a pole when Cooper came down the creek and swam over to him. The pup stayed with him until the rescue boat reached them. The young man believes the dog saved his life.
“He is such an awesome, well-mannered dog, he deserves steaks and bacon,” Zaneta told Cooper’s owner, Caitlyn Rochelle, in the comments.
The boy was mostly unscathed. Apart from a scrape in his rear, Cooper was fine, too. In fact, it’s as if nothing had happened when he arrived at Waverly Animal Clinic. The dog was as energetic as can be and kept licking the staff and wagging his tail, seemingly happy that he was now somewhere safe and warm.
“We’ve been calling him Big Hero Dog all week long,” said veterinarian Dr. Jessica Peek, owner of Waverly Animal Clinic.
Dr. Peek said he’s a “living sweety” and that they have been giving him lots of treats and calling him a hero—which he both deserves!
Cooper arrived at the clinic an instant celebrity.
“Come here Big Hero Dog, I’ve got you a treat,” Dr. Peek told Cooper as she fed him a chicken-flavored snack and hugged him on the front lawn.
Caitlyn said she cried when she heard about Cooper’s heroic rescue story.
“It was no surprise that he saw someone else in distress and went after him,” she said. “He’s always been a good dog, a great emotional support animal. When my dad and I get depression, Cooper senses it and sits and lays his head on us.”
Unfortunately for Caitlyn and her family, they lost everything in the flood. A tree crashed through her roof, allowing water and debris to flood into her house in Waverly.
Cooper was staying with her father when he got swept away by floodwaters But now, they are happily reunited.
Dr. Peek said Cooper’s was just one of the many stories about families affected by the disaster. Hundreds of others were also victimized and separated from their owners.
Dozens of cats and dogs were taken to the clinic, where they received treatment while outreach efforts were made to reunite them with their owners.
“You feel a little helpless and don’t know what to do when people are trapped and looking for their pets,” she said. “We’ve tried to give pets a safe place to be so owners could deal with other things they have to deal with.”
She shared the story of an elderly woman who initially refused to be rescued without her two cats, even while her house began shifting from its foundation because of the flood.
Dr. Peek said she wouldn’t leave with rescuers until someone took care of her pets. Thankfully, that woman was eventually reunited with her beloved cats.
I bet Cooper was scared at the time, but he chose to stay with the boy until help came. Good job, Cooper!
Watch the video below to learn more. Please share this story to let others know about this dog’s heroic efforts.