Real Life

Hero husky saved my life

Max the hero husky saved his owner's life after she'd been in a terrible accident
Max the Husky

It was one of my favourite parts of the day, when I walked my husky, Max, around our neighbourhood, the sun shining down on us.

“It’s such a beautiful day,” I told him.

He barked in agreement before tugging on the lead, eager to meet new people that he could stop and have a cuddle with.

Though wolf-like in appearance, he was a teddy bear at heart.

My partner, David, and I had got him in March 2018, when he was 12 weeks old, and he settled into our home perfectly.

He was cheeky, and loved testing the limits of what he could do – like snuggling with us on the couch or the bed – but we loved him for it.

Shaune Symes and her dog Max

Now, he was 18 months old, with bundles of energy. Once we’d finished our walk, we headed back towards home.

We were around 200m away, when suddenly I felt a thud on my back and everything went black.

When I came around, I was in the hospital, covered in wires. David was by my bedside.

“What happened?” I croaked. I couldn’t remember a thing.

David explained a woman had been driving down the quiet road where Max and I were walking when her vehicle lost control, mounted the pavement and hit me, propelling me head-first into a rock wall, cracking my skull open and exposing my brain.

The wall was surrounded by trees and bushes, meaning my lifeless body was hidden from sight from anyone walking past.

The vehicle had eventually crashed onto its roof further down the road.

Fortunately, Max had escaped unharmed.

Realising I needed help, our clever boy ran home to raise the alarm.

Max the Husky

He pawed at the door until David opened it.

“He was covered in your blood, and I knew something must have happened to you,” David told me.

When I didn’t answer my phone, he grabbed Max’s lead and let him lead the way.

Before reaching me, David came across the police at the scene where the driver had crashed.

“Please, help me. I can’t find my partner!” he shouted to them.

With the help of Max, they found me hidden behind a tree, unconscious and bleeding from my injuries.

The ambulance arrived and took me to the hospital, where I was put in an induced coma for 27 days.

I’d sustained a traumatic brain injury and needed to go through an 11-hour reconstructive surgery because every bone in my face was broken.

My neck, pelvis and wrist were all fractured, too, plus my liver was ruptured. I also had five of my bottom teeth knocked out.

“You wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for Max,” David told me, teary-eyed.

Shaune Symes and her dog Max

The paramedics said if I’d been left there 10 minutes more, I’d be dead. Max had saved my life.

Over the next few weeks, I was in ICU and then the neurology ward, slowly healing. I couldn’t see Max at that time as he wasn’t allowed inside the hospital.

“How is he?” I asked David.

“He’s worried,” David replied. “He keeps looking for you.”

My heart ached for him. When I was finally well enough to be moved to the brain injury rehabilitation unit, David brought Max to visit me in the outside grounds.

Seeing me, he sprinted over and jumped right into my arms.

“Mummy’s okay,” I told him through my tears. “All thanks to you.”

It was a precious moment. I never wanted to let him go.

I got home from my three-month stay in the hospital right before Christmas.

The recovery was long, but having Max by my side helped me to cope.

In time, the driver pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention causing grievous bodily harm.

She was sentenced to two months jail, suspended for nine months.

Max the Husky

Then, in September of 2021, I received wonderful news.

“I’m pregnant,” I told David.

We had been trying for a while, and I’d just come back from seeing the doctor for nausea.

Other than gestational diabetes and having to take medication to prevent blood clots, I had a healthy pregnancy.

On May 5, 2022, we welcomed our beautiful son, Isaac.

When I introduced him to Max for the first time, my heart was bursting with love.

“He’s here because of you,” I told Max.

Shaune Symes with her son Isaac and Max

For his bravery, Max was awarded the Animal Hero Award by the RSPCA in 2020 for saving my life.

We were all so proud of him.

Tragically, Max passed away at five and a half years old after a series of health issues, leaving us devastated.

Isaac’s now two, and we tell him stories about our hero dog, Max.

We’ll never forget what he did for our family.

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