LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas hunter has a unique bond with his hunting dog - a dog that very likely saved his life from a deadly rattlesnake bite.
John Coward loves his 5-year-old labrador Abbie.
"It's a bond between the two of us," said Coward. "I look out for her and she looks out for me."
On a recent dove hunting trip to Hondo, Coward was standing in an open field when Abbie alerted him to something.
"She could sense that something was awry something wasn't right," said Coward. "She took a few steps over and started kind of bouncing up and down and coming to the side and I asked her what was wrong and about that time a snake bit her."
12 inches away was a Western Diamondback Rattler and Abbie got between it and her owner.
"We were standing right on top of it, I mean, within a foot, and it bit her," he said. "I don't know why it didn't go for us but it bit her."
Coward rushed Abbie to a San Antonio vet where anti-venom was administered.
"I scooped her up and we loaded her up in the truck as fast as we could," he said.
And, now, the bond between the hunter and his dog will never be stronger.
"There was always something special but this just makes it that much more special."
Abbie is recovering well, thanks in part to a vets advice that Coward took. He had given Abbie a rattlesnake vaccine a year ago.