Four-year-old "Chief", an American Pit Bull Terrier, dashed in front of a venomous snake which was poised to strike at 87-year-old Liberata la Victoria and her granddaughter Maria Victoria. Shielding the women from the attack, Chief saved them but died minutes later from the snake's bite.
Photo: Marc Sabelita
"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you,
they will be there long before any of us."
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
The children in the Fronteras household referred to their dog as Kuya ("big brother"), and he certainly proved it on the day he sacrificed his life to protect the family.
At around 2 p.m., "Chief", an American Pit Bull Terrier, rescued Liberata la Victoria, 87, and her granddaughter Maria Victoria Fronteras from a deadly cobra which had entered their house through an opening in the kitchen.
Liberata la Victoria and Chief had been watching TV on the sofa when suddenly Chief jumped up and alerted her to the presence of a cobra less than 10 feet away. Maria Victoria rushed in and pulled her grandmother into a separate room, hoping the snake would leave.
But when Maria Victoria later emerged from the room, she was terrified to find the cobra poised about two feet away. Equally startled, the cobra expanded its hood and appeared to be spitting venom as it prepared to strike.
"The snake was in front of us, maneuvering a deadly attack," says Maria Victoria. "I screamed out loud to ask for help."
That's when from "out of nowhere", Chief dashed between the cobra and the two women, using himself as a shield against the cobra's attacks. Chief then seized the cobra by the neck and slammed it into the floor, killing it.
But for Chief it was a Pyrrhic victory. In the struggle, he sustained a fatal bite to the jaw, and moments later he began gasping for breath and collapsed.
The family sought the help of a veterinarian, but they were told that nothing could be done. According to the vet, the bite was too close to Chief's brain, and the venom had already spread. Maria Victoria called her husband Marlone who, stunned by the news, rushed home immediately.
Ian de la Rama, a friend of the family, says it was less than 30 minutes from the time Chief had been bitten that he "went wobbly and lost control of his organs," urinating and defecating uncontrollably. Yet he still kept clinging to life.
It wasn't until Marlone arrived that Chief finally let go. Ian de la Rama describes, "Chief gave his two deep breaths and died. He was fighting and saving his last ounces of breath to see a glimpse of his master for the last two seconds of his life."
Ian adds that the last thing Chief did as he gazed up at Marlone was wag his tail.