Animal Miracle Foundation is a Washington state based foundation that aims to raise the awareness of about pet and wildlife issues. Sponsoring three special ‘dog’ awareness days, National Puppy Day on March 23,  National Dog Day on Aug. 26 and National Mutt Day on Dec. 2 to highlight the high number of dogs in shelters that need homes, it has chosen it’s Hero Dog of 2008.

MayaMaya, who in June of 2007, saved her human companion, Angela Marcelino, from a violent attack and rape at the hands of an intruder who stood in wait is the Animal Miracle Foundation’s Hero Dog of 2008.

Not only did Maya save Marcelino, she was also instrumental in the conviction of the attacker, Anthony Easley, 37, due to DNA from blood that was taken from Maya’s fur after she attacked the would-be attacker.

For Angela Marcelino, she’s proud of Maya receiving the honor but not surprised that the ever gentle and sweet Maya came to her rescue when she did. You see, Marcelino rescued Maya when the now 5 year old, 25 pound, pit bull mix was only 3 months old and they have been companions ever since.

So not only does this award honor Maya, it’s “a testament to the fact that the pit bull breed can be hero dogs just like any other breed,” Colleen Paige, founder of the group, said in a statement.

As part of the award, Marcelino agreed to write an account of the morning her Maya became a hero.

“I opened my front door and was about to walk inside when I saw someone’s shadow out of the corner of my eye,” she wrote. “I turned my head just as a man pushed me into my house. I screamed as loud as I could, but the man had slammed the door shut behind him.

” ‘Shut up’ were the only words he said to me. He was choking me with one hand. I was able to scream one last time. After I did, his grip tightened around my neck. That is when I saw a white streak run in from the other room. His grip was so tight that I could only gurgle the words ‘Maya, get him.’ He still had a grip on my throat, as his other hand was busy trying to fight off my angry dog.

“I don’t know how, but I managed to get on my feet. His attention turned away from Maya for a second so that he could push my front door open and she followed. At that point, I grabbed him in the groin as hard as I could. He doubled over and released the grip around my neck. I pushed him away and grabbed Maya by the collar. I like to think, at that moment, he told himself he had picked the wrong woman to mess with. He looked at me one last time, only for a second, and then simply walked away.”

Needless to say, Maya has no doubt been more pampered than usual by her ever grateful companion, Marcelino.

“I cry sometimes when I hug Maya and ask her, ‘What would I do without you?’ “

No doubt many of us feel the same about our beloved canine companions, I know that I do and sometimes the worst thing they have rescued us from is a bad day or loneliness but they are ever at our side giving love, loyalty and so much more. For me, my dogs are heroes everyday!

Source – San Jose Mercury News

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