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Man's best friend: Former Stark County shelter dog saves owner's life

Canton man had stroke, dog reacted
Posted at 2:24 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 13:41:06-04

CANTON, Ohio — The bond between Chad Mason and his dog named "Bunny" is extra special because they saved each other.

The two met by chance around Easter in 2021 when Bunny, a stray at the time, wandered up to Mason outside his Canton home on Kingsbury Drive SE.

"I was just moving in. She ran up and crawled up under my leg," Mason said.

Mason, 52, took the dog, a terrier/pitbull mix, to the Stark County Dog Warden's Division, but within a week he decided to adopt her.

"I have friends there that promised me first crack at adoption," he said.

While Mason rescued the dog, Bunny would turn out to be the true savior of the relationship.

About four months after the adoption, Mason suffered a cerebral stroke inside his home and the dog sensed something was wrong.

"I remember hitting the floor. My right side didn't work. My dog started freaking out," Mason recalled. "She sure the heck knew something was wrong."

Chad Mason and his dog named "Bunny".

Despite experiencing the medical emergency, Mason managed to crawl from his bathroom to the front door, and pushed it open hoping Bunny would somehow get help.

"From the ground, I opened it, hit the handle and she ran out."

At that point, the dog raced to ended of the driveway and began continuously barking.

That got the attention of Misty Gore, a neighbor who lives across the street.

"I just heard her going crazy," Gore said.

Chad Mason and his dog named "Bunny".

By then, Mason was able to roll outside. Gore saw he was in distress and ran back to her home with Bunny following her every move.

"She ran out to me back across the street where I got my phone and then we came back here, called the ambulance and sat with them until they showed up," Gore said.

Chad has faced a long recovery, but is walking going to work and his speech is improving.

He's convinced he would not have survived if not for the actions of the former shelter dog.

When asked if Bunny was his hero, Mason said, "I guess. I guess so. I never thought of that, but sure. That's a good word to use."

Gore concurs and is grateful that she paid attention to the cues of the dog.

"I think she's amazing," she said. "She saved his life."

Chad Mason and his dog named "Bunny".

Deputy Jon Barber, with the Stark County Dog Warden's Division, said the remarkable story shows the capacity of our four-legged friends.

"When they see something that's out of the normal, obviously, they're going to alert to that. They're going to be aware that something is just not right," Barber said.

Mason said he'll be forever grateful he and Bunny found each, a story of man's best friend indeed.

"We have a long life together," he said.

Currently, there are 20 dogs fully vetted in the shelter awaiting their forever homes. For more information on how to adopt a dog, call 330-451-2343.