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UERJ 2009

Picnics, pythons and heroes ... oh my!
Golden Retriever rescues young girl from python


It was a warm, sunny August afternoon, and Michelle Arnold of Farmingville, NY, ran inside her kitchen to pour her two daughters, Kaila (7) and Sara (3), a drink for their backyard picnic. Kaila followed her mother inside to help, leaving Sara to play in their new toy ball pit. Seconds later, Michelle heard a scream and then crying. She ran outside and found their pet Golden Retriever, Sundance, barking at a large, strange-looking snake dead on the ground, and Sara crying on top of the picnic table.

Michelle quickly checked her daughter for bites, but found nothing. Sundance had saved the day. The large, eight-foot snake – a ball python – had made the Arnold’s ball pit its home and when Sara jumped in, it became agitated and started to slither toward her. Sundance, recognizing the danger, began to bark loudly at the reptile and eventually killed it to protect his young owner.

The following year, Sunny won the Dog Hero of the Year Award, sponsored by Del Monte Pet Products. “I broke into tears”, said Michelle. “Sundance needs an operation to remove a few cysts from the back of his shoulders and we didn’t have enough money to schedule the surgery. Now, we are going to use the prize money for his operation. He has done so much for us, now it’s our turn to help him. Sundance saved my daughter’s life and, ever since that day, his official name became Sunny, the Hero Dog.”


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