The relationship between dogs and humans stretches back thousands of years. Humans and canines have developed an incredible connection and sense of cooperation, and to this day it’s hard to find a more reliable ally than your faithful pooch. One mother got a first-hand lesson in the camaraderie between a dog and their family, after seeing what she thought was her dog attacking her child.
Khan the Doberman
Catherine Svilicic, a mother from Australia, had recently adopted her new Doberman, Khan. Coming across Khan at the shelter, she found out that he was actually scheduled to be put down before long. Seeing the potential to give a loving home to a dog that certainly needed one, Cathering adopted Khan, and welcomed him into the family.
A bad rap
The Doberman is a dog breed with a particularly difficult reputation. While many dogs will engage in play fighting, breeds like the Doberman and the pitbull have been bred specifically for fighting. Therefore, although they may not be inherently more violent, they can be much more dangerous if they do end up acting out. As a result, breeds of this kind tend to get adopted a lot less, but Catherine was determined to adopt a dog that others might overlook, and believed that Khan would not present any danger.
A promising start
Despite her faith, Catherine was understandably nervous. She knew that she could handle herself if Khan did end up being violent, but her toddler Charlotte would be much more vulnerable. However, their first interaction seemed to go perfectly, with neither Charlotte nor the Khan presenting any problem to the other. The two seemed to enjoy each other’s company, and Catherine was duly reassured, certain that Charlotte and Khan would be perfect partners as Charlotte grew up.
A sudden change
However, four days after Khan was adopted, something happened that made Catherine’s blood run cold, and made her fear for her daughter. Khan and Charlotte were playing together in the garden like any other day, with no cause for concern. However, Khan suddenly took Charlotte’s diaper in his mouth, and threw her across the grass. Catherine was shocked, unable to believe that Khan seemed to have snapped so suddenly. She could see no reason for his behavior, and simply stood still in confusion and shock.
A bad situation
Nothing happened for a few seconds, and Catherine thought that whatever had happened was over. She couldn’t see why Khan had thrown Charlotte, and was very disappointed in him, but it looked to be a one-time thing. However, Khan suddenly grabbed Charlotte by the diaper again, and began tossing her around haphazardly. Catherine couldn’t believe her eyes, and ran over to the two of them. Charlotte seemed more surprised than upset, but it had to be stopped nonetheless.
A worrying development
However, as Catherine ran over to Khan and Charlotte, the dog gave a cry and fell down on the grass. At this point Catherine was completely in the dark about what was going on. Looking at Charlotte, she couldn’t see any signs of injury or distress. Despite throwing her around so frantically, Khan’s intention clearly hadn’t been to hurt the toddler. But suddenly, Khan himself seemed to have been mysteriously injured? Catherine simply couldn’t figure out what had been going on.
One thing that was certain however, was that Khan was seriously injured. He was lying on the ground without moving, and didn’t seem to be responding to Catherine at all. Khan’s condition made it clear that, far from trying to hurt her, he had actually been trying to protect Charlotte. Catherine was not sure what from, but presumed it was a venomous animal like a snake, and that Khan was now suffering the effects of the venom.
Save the dog
Catherine realized that Khan was going to require immediate and intensive treatment. Although he was a big dog, venom can easily take out even the largest animals. She was desperate to save the dog that had saved her daughter, and got ready to take him to the vets. She handed Charlotte over to a family member, then carried Khan over to the car. She simply hoped that he would be able to hand on long enough to get treatment.
Khan’s sad past
Before being adopted by the Svilicics, Khan had experienced a fairly rough time with his previous family. When going to adopt Khan, Catherine was told by the shelter that he had experienced abuse at the hands of his previous family. When he was rescued by the shelter, they found that, among other things, he was severely malnourished and had several broken ribs. It was for this reason that Khan was almost put down, as the shelter were not sure whether he would be able to recover from such abuse.
The love of a family
It was for this reason that Catherine was so desperate to get Khan the treatment he needed, and see him pull through. He was a dog that had been horribly neglected and mistreated by his former owners, and despite that had risked his own life to save a toddler that he had met only days before. Catherine wanted him to survive so that he could experience more of the love that he had been denied for so long.
A frantic trip
The journey to the vet was quite an event for Catherine, who was in a less than calm state. Obviously intent on getting help for Khan as soon as possible, she drove to the animal hospital in a way that would make Mad Max proud. She wasn’t going to let a little thing like neat driving get in the way of saving the dog that had protected her precious baby girl. Khan was now equally precious to her, and she floored it, determined to save her hero of a pooch.
Catherine finally reached the animal hospital, and immediately began calling for someone to come help her dog. The doctors and nurses came to see what was wrong with Khan, and immediately took him to emergency. The matter was out of Catherine’s hands at this point, but that didn’t stop her from worrying. She knew that now Khan was in professional care, he would be properly seen to, but was nonetheless desperate for a vet to tell her whether Khan would be okay.
However, the vets weren’t capable of telling her exactly what would happen to Khan just yet. They had given him an antivenom, which would hopefully reverse the effects of the venom flowing through his veins. Nonetheless, it had clearly done some damage to him already. It was still uncertain how he was doing. The vet told Catherine that they would have to keep Khan overnight, and that she should come back the next day to see how he was doing.
A somber trip home
Catherine left for home, reeling from the back and forth of the day’s events. She’d seen what she thought was Khan attacking Charlotte, only to realize that he’d been trying to protect her, and ended up fearing for the life of her heroic pooch. The sequence of events was enough to give anyone whiplash. Catherine’s head was spinning, and all she could do was worry about whether or not her dog was going to make it through.
Desperate to know
The next day, Catherine went to the hospital immediately, intent on finding out what happened to Khan. She’d spent a sleepless night fretting about what would happen to him, and now she simply couldn’t wait any longer to discover the fate of her faithful canine friend. She went straight to the helpdesk, hoping that they would have the information she was looking for. Eventually, Catherine was able to speak to the veterinarian handling Khan’s case, and ask after him.
The vet gave Catherine the news she had so desperately hoped for, that Khan was still alive, and doing better. However, he was still incredibly sick, and would need some further treatment. The antivenom had managed to prevent the worst, but he had been very badly affected and would require some further treatment. They had managed to prevent Khan’s being paralyzed however, which was a major victory. Nonetheless, the vet expected that Khan would eventually recover completely.
Back to health
Although it took time and more treatment, Khan did eventually make a full recovery. Luckily, he had not been injected with a fatal amount of venom, which was his saving grace. In time, Catherine was able to take him back home, where he could be given the heroes welcome that he deserved. She knew that Charlotte and the rest of the family would be so excited to see him, and that he would be glad to be home.
Catherine was ecstatic to finally have her dog back home, safe and sound. She couldn’t believe the rollercoaster that they’d been on since the first moment that Khan had thrown Charlotte. Her darling dog had almost paid the ultimate price in protecting her daughter, but now he was back home, and they would be able to show Khan how grateful they were. Catherine was so glad that Khan had made it through, and would be able to experience the life he had been denied for so long.
A dangerous venom
What was it that had attacked Khan? After Catherine returned home from the hospital that day, she had spotted the culprit slithering through the garden. It turned out to be a Mulga, one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Although its venom is not as potent as the most fatal snakes, it is able to inject its victims with much larger quantities. Khan had been saved by the fact that the snake had not been able to envenomate him to a greater degree.
Snake bites can present a very real danger to people, especially in a country like Australia, which boasts five of the world’s ten most venomous snakes. Despite the danger snakebite deaths are not necessarily a very prevalent danger, with around 50 people passing away between 1979 and 1998. However, bite incidences have risen in recent years, perhaps as expanding human populations bring more people into contact with snakes. Care should always be taken around any snakes, and immediate treatment sought in the event of a bite.
A better outcome
Khan had been lucky due to his size and the fact that the snake did not inject him with a lot of venom. However, it was much luckier for Charlotte that Khan managed to stop her from getting bitten. Even if the amount was little, the venom would have taken much less time to make its way around her system due to her smaller size, and the results could have been much worse. We imagine she’ll be thanking Khan for a long time to come!
With the snake bite, and the treatment he suffered at the hands of his former owners, Khan had been through more than most dogs, or indeed people, experience in their lifetimes. He had gone from a neglected dog whose fate was entirely uncertain, to a hero that saved a young girl he barely new. If any dog was deserving of all the love a family could give, it was Khan, and we’re sure he loves Catherine, Charlotte, and the rest of the family dedicated to taking care of him.
Man’s best friend
Dogs have proven time and again their instinct for protecting their families. For example, one US family must have been incredibly grateful for the actions of their dog, Hank. Barking furiously one night, Hank drew the attention of one of his owners, who when they went to see what he was barking about, realized that the shed in their garden had gone up in flames. Because of Hank, the family and their neighbors were able to get out of their houses, and call the fire brigade before the blaze reached their homes.
In addition, dogs have proven themselves consistently willing to take on bigger or very dangerous opponents if it means protecting the people near and dear to them. Shane Shafer, a 9-year-old from Nebraska, had been left at home briefly while his mother picked up his siblings. During this time, a burglar broke into their house, but luckily the family pitbull Baby Girl was on the case, driving the burglar out of their house and protecting Shane.