Update: Freckles the wonder dog receives award
Lassie isn't the only dog that comes to the rescue. Charlottesville's own Freckles received the Animal Hero Award award from the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association at an annual banquet in Roanoke on Saturday.
As the Hook first reported in July, Freckles came to the rescue of her neighbor, Charles Hitt, 91, who was mowing the grass when he was thrown from his tractor and trapped under a fence.
"Many times we hear of dogs saving their owner, but this was not her owner; it was her neighbor," says banquet chair Dr. Steve Karras. "In today's world, we can all use the story of Freckles to remind us to take care of our neighbors."
After calling for help for over 40 minutes to no avail, Hitt, trapped out of view of cars passing on Route 250, had given up hope of being found when Freckles came bounding across the highway. Freckles ran back to the house and led Hitt's caregiver to the site of the accident.
Hitt was lucky to receive help in time. On average, 10 farmers are killed each year in Virginia in tractor-related accidents, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau, as quoted last month in a story about Bedford County supervisor Bobby Pollard, 71, who was killed by his machine while feeding cattle on his Lynchburg-area farm.
So how did Freckles know someone was in trouble? "I have no idea– I'm really astounded," says Freckles' owner, Brett Wilson.
Freckles is the second local dog to win the Animal Hero Award since its inception in 2004. She was preceded two years ago by Ingo, the Albemarle County Police Dog who won the award posthumously.