A HERO puppy has been left with a badly puffed up face after saving his owner from a deadly rattlesnake strike.
The Express reports that adorable Todd the six month old golden retriever took the powerful venom full in the muzzle as he protected Paula Godwin from the notorious snake’s fangs.
The quick-thinking owner repaid Todd’s bravery by getting him urgent veterinary care so he could receive the anti-venom needed to combat one of the most feared snake bites in nature.
As Todd recovers from his ordeal, Ms Godwin, 44, has been feting her hero with a series of social media pictures showing the damage the snake had inflicted on her puppy’s cute face.
The right side of Todd’s muzzle is heavily swollen and carries dark marks where the rattlesnake’s fangs bore down.
Ms Godwin explained how she had been walking on trail in Anthem, Arizona, with Todd and her other dog Copper when she almost trod on the slumbering serpent.
Todd reacted immediately.
Ms Godwin said: “He jumped right in front of my leg or I surely would have got bit. This is what a hero looks like”.
Around 8,000 people are bitten by snakes across the USA each year, although only a handful die. Fatalities are usually attributed to eastern and western diamondback rattlesnakes.
Ms Godwin said: “I did not see that snake as it was so camouflaged in the road. It was a grey-speckled and white rattlesnake”.
“I picked Todd up and ran down the hill, called the animal hospital where I live and told them that I would be there in five minutes.”
In less than 15 minutes, Todd was being treated at an animal hospital with anti-venom. After a 12-hour stay he was ready to go home.
Ms Godwin told ABC News: “I would not want this to happen to my dogs or anybody’s dogs. Of course, I would rather have been bitten by the snake, but he did instead. He’s still my hero”.