A Northern Michigan native, identified only by his first name Bob, is especially thankful for his furry best friend, Kelsey. While Bob was watching football, this past New Year’s Eve, he decided to go outside to retrieve a log for his fireplace. What started out as a simple task, turned into a nightmare. Bob was battling for his life for over 20 hours.
When Bob stepped outside, he slipped on some icy steps and landed on his back and broke his neck. Bob couldn’t move any part of his body except his elbows. He only had on a pair of slippers, long johns and a long-sleeved shirt,while lying on the snow-covered ground. Luckily, Bob had his 70-pound golden retriever Kelsey with him.
Temperatures dropped to mid-20s during the 20 hours, but Kelsey did not leave Bob’s side. The retriever laid on top of his chest and stomach to keep him warm, while she licked him repeatedly. Whenever Bob dozed off, Kelsey did her best to keep him warm and awake. Although she tried to bark for help, it was a fruitless effort since they live on a 40-acre farm where the closest neighbor was a quarter-mile away.
“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.”
Twenty hours later, Bob was incredibly fortunate that a neighbor was scheduled to collect some chicken eggs from him around 6:30 pm. The neighbor immediately dialed 9-1-1 and Bob was taken to McLaren Northern Michigan hospital.
Doctors believe Kelsey is the only reason Bob survived. Kelsey prevented her owner from getting frostbite that could have led to other severe health issues. Bob was treated for hypothermia, irregular heart rhythm and had surgery to repair two herniated discs that crushed his spinal cord which caused him paralyzation.
The day after surgery, Bob amazed everyone when he began moving his arms and legs.“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,” explained 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.”
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