They say that animals have a sixth sense about trouble. We already know that dogs can sense cancer, dangerously low blood sugar, and when a seizure is about to happen. And anyone who has ever had a dog — or even a cat — know that they can tell better than we can if a person is up to no good. So when Abby Leathers’ dog, Bruce, started acting “off,” she knew something was up.
Bruce, a pit bull who lives in Georgia, is normally a pretty chill dude. He’s well behaved and generally doesn’t make a lot of noise. He’s certainly not a troublemaker. So when he started to act agitated, and wouldn’t stop, Abby knew Bruce was trying to tell her something.
“Bruce sat at the front door whining and sniffing, which I thought weird and annoying, as he usually goes out back,” she wrote on Instagram.
Thinking it was a momentary lapse, she ignored it. But the behavior didn’t stop. Bruce scratched at the windows, scratched at the door. He kept barking and sniffing under the front door. Abby was getting worried, because she was renting her home, and, very likely, didn’t want to lose her security deposit.
Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore. She opened the front door. And Bruce bolted out.
An Urgent Dash to the River
Abby’s home stands near a large pond, and Bruce made a beeline for it. There was something there, and Bruce was determined to get to it. Abby followed. What Bruce showed her made her jaw drop.
What Bruce Found
A dark figure stood in the river, knee deep in the water. As Abby drew closer, she saw that it was an elderly woman. The woman was half naked and confused. Also, the woman didn’t appear to speak English well. Abby wrote,
“She was standing two or three feet down, up to her knees in the water. She was trembling, confused, and scared.”
What Happened Next
The woman didn’t know where she was, or even who she was. Abby led her out of the water and bundled her in a warm blanket. Then she called the police and paramedics. The police eventually contacted the woman’s family. The woman was from nearby Lawrenceville and had wandered off. Because of Bruce and Abby, the woman and her family were reunited.
“Without Bruce, I would have never known she was out there. If I hadn’t gone out there, I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t know if she knew how to swim. She could have drowned.”
Abby had named her dog Bruce, after Bruce Wayne, the alter ego of Abby’s favorite hero, Batman. Of her dog, she said,
“I always knew [Bruce] was a hero. He’s my best friend and saves me in little ways every day.”
Look at that terrifying pit bull!
How You Can Help
Want to help avert another potential tragedy like this one? Here’s how.
Help people with Alzheimers/Dementia
People with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia sometimes wander off, despite the best efforts of their caretakers. Learn how to recognize when someone might need your help. Also, if you know someone caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, ask how you can help. Even just having someone to talk to can relieve a caregiver’s stress, and make them that much more able to provide better care. You can also donate to, or raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
Fight breed-specific legislation
Some communities ban specific breeds of dog, like pit bulls or German Shepherds, because they believe them to be aggressive. We all know that so many times, dog attacks happen not because of the breed, but because of the way the dog has been treated in the past. And any dog can become aggressive if treated badly. You can read about more heroic pit bulls here.
When your dog talks, listen!
Dogs’ senses, particularly their senses of hearing and smell, are much more sensitive than ours. When it comes to powers of observation, dogs are the Sherlocks of the animal kingdom. If you think your dog might be telling you something is wrong, don’t tell them to be quiet. Listen, and investigate. You may learn something! And you may just save a life.
You can watch the video from Abby’s local news station here.