Service Dog Throws Himself In Front Of School Bus To Protect His Blind Owner

 Audrey Stone, who was laying in a hospital bed high in the Danbury Hospital tower, spoke quietly about her six-year companion, Figo, the 8-year-old golden retriever that sprang between the legally blind lady and an oncoming mini-school bus in Brewster on Monday.

"He needs the Purple Heart from the president," Stone joked.

Figo (pronounced FEE-go), Stone's third service dog, is a product of Smithtown's Guide Dog Foundation. Buddy, the black Labrador, and Leilani, another golden, had gone before him.

"We clicked right immediately," Stone remarked of her first encounter with Figo.

"He defends, loves, and is defended by me. Simply said, we have a solid relationship." Stone stated that devices were monitoring her vital indicators. Doctors say she has three fractured ribs, a damaged foot, and a shattered elbow.

On Monday, Stone and Figo were on their way home after their "regular daily stroll" into Brewster, to their home on North Main Street across from the firehouse. When they got to Michael Neuner Drive, "I gave him the instruction to cross the street," Stone claimed.

"'Fast forward,' I murmured. And we were in the middle of the street, and everything occurred so quickly, but many claimed he simply leapt in front of the bus." Stone asserts.

The Brewster schools mini-school bus was transporting two kindergartners to St. Lawrence O'Toole Childhood Learning Center. The motorist, who has been pulled off the road awaiting an inquiry, never saw Stone or her dog.

Stone, who has poor eyesight, said she doesn't remember much of the collision save for one image: a wounded Figo crawling to her side, his damaged right paw held high.

"I had a feeling he'd be in a lot of agony," Stone added. "I remember seeing him, and his paw was dripping wet as he came over to me."

"I could see he was in pain, and I was in a state of shock. I had the look of a battleground "She continued. "I recall Figo standing there gazing at me, wanting to come close to me, but he didn't know what to do since he knew I was hurt."

Figo underwent surgery at Middlebranch Veterinary in Southeast to close a wound on his right front leg. According to a staff member, Figo's leg is in a sling and he is on the mend.

Stone and Figo's tale quickly went viral when it was published on Monday, with news sources hurrying to highlight the service dog whose efforts spared a horrible end. Readers from Atlanta and North Dakota contacted Lohud.com to show their support.

Positive sentiments are also being sent by those closer to home.

Pastor Jennifer Boyd visited Stone in the hospital on Tuesday and fielded calls from well-wishers and the national media. According to Boyd, Stone attends Trinity Lutheran Church, as does Figo, who goes up for communion but does not accept it.

Boyd was distressed to learn about the event.

"They walk there regularly. It's a common road for them "Boyd made a statement. "And Audrey and Figo's friendship is well known to me. It is tough to distinguish them in this manner. I realize that he has to be where he is in order to heal, and she needs to be where she is in order to recuperate, but the sooner we can bring them together, the better for both of them."

According to Stone, doctors want to keep an eye on her, and she will undergo further surgery and then rehab. She has no clue when she and her four-legged constant companion will be able to spend time together again.

"I would have been heartbroken if he had been murdered," Stone is confident. She did, however, add that they had both survived to tell the tale.

"I'm not shocked he did that," Stone replied. "He'll move between me and my cart at the grocery store to stop a shopping cart from rolling down the aisle. That's something he's previously done for me."

She had expected to receive medical treatment of a different type on Monday.

"I was meant to have surgery on an infected tooth," she joked. "Did I have a legitimate reason to miss it?" she pondered.

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