Maria Cortes Gonzalez placeholder image
El Paso Times
EL PASO, Texas – Every dog has its day, and Friday was a festive day for Astro, a pit bull mix celebrated as a hero.
The dog was honored at the El Paso Fire Department’s Safety & Health Outreach Center, 5415 Trowbridge Drive, by fire officers and Ramon Herrera, interim director of El Paso Animal Services.
Astro, a 1 year old rescue dog, received a medal from the El Paso Fire Department for helping save its owner’s life. (Photo / Briana Sanchez, El Paso Times)
“Two days ago at 1:30 pm, the fire department answered Artcraft for reports on a patient in a medical emergency. It sounds like a simple medical call. But there was something special,” said Enrique Duenas-Aguilar, spokesman for the Fire Department.
“The 911 operator reported that a dog led him to the patient in distress. Obviously this attracted a lot of attention. And when the crews found the patient, they confirmed that a dog was protecting its owner,” he said. “We know the dog even tried to climb into the ambulance.”
Both officials and the family of the 36-year-old man, who is recovering in a hospital, believe that Astro was instrumental in saving his owner’s life.
The patient’s mother, Bertha Martinez, who wants to protect her son’s privacy, said she was still a bit shocked at the dog’s ability to essentially mark a Samaritan by barking and restlessness.
“He was always friendly, but he surprised us. We would never have thought in a million years that he would do such a thing,” she said.
Martinez said they had the dog for a year after seeing him on the street as a puppy.
She said Astro’s action changed her mind about pit bulls.
“I’ve always been scared of pit bulls. And when we brought him home I wasn’t sure we’d keep him long,” she said.
“But now I think if people have room for a dog they should consider adopting a pit bull,” she said. “There are many dogs in shelters and we need to find them at home and treat them well.”
Herrera said Astro is a great example of what they want to instill at Animal Services for the love and camaraderie that animals bring to people’s lives.
“We are glad to be here to honor Astro for the bravery, friendship and dedication he has shown to his owner,” he said.
Martinez said she called her son that morning to make sure the dog wouldn’t come loose. He often takes the dog to the park and the Franklin Mountains.
But she doesn’t know what happened or where her son was until she got a call about the emergency.
Duenas-Aguilar presented Astro with a medal for his actions. He also received a cake and homemade treats courtesy of Jojo & Coco’s Treats.
Martinez didn’t say if Astro would receive preferential treatment at home. She said she loved him more now.
“My son couldn’t exist if it wasn’t for him,” she said as Astro bit into his cake.
(c) 2021 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)