Hercules, a massive St. Bernard, was only hours away from being “put down” by the local dog pound. He had been found by hikers on Halloween. He was bloody, dehydrated and malnourished. He had been attacked by coyotes and was in such bad shape that the hikers initially didn’t think he was alive.
For economic reasons — and due to his very poor condition — animal shelter officials had him on the list to be euthanized.
But Lee and Elizabeth Littler saw something in the animal, reports Beliefnet’s Donna Calvin. They took him home, “but had no intention of keeping him. They only planned to help him get back to health and then find a permanent home. They already had four other dogs.”
Shortly after arriving home, Lee was going to take Hercules for a walk when the dog began to growl and lunge forward.
“It was really unusual because he hadn’t barked, growled or made any noises up until that point. Next thing I know, he’s ripping free of my hand and going through the screen door, onto the back porch,” said Lee.
Hercules saw what Lee had not – a man wearing dark clothes coming up from the basement, but now running for his life with an angry St. Bernard hot on his heels.
Hercules hurtled toward the man, grabbed his ankle and pulled him down, but the would-be home-invader broke free and scrambled over the fence.
When police responded, they found that the Littler’s phone and cable lines had been cut. They had been targeted for a home invasion burglary.
“To have adopted a dog 6 hours before the incident and have him already defending you with that resolve, it’s amazing,” says Lee.
And yes, Hercules now has a permanent home — with the Littlers.
He earned it, they say.