BREWSTER, N.Y. — When Bigo the service dog saw an oncoming mini school bus heading for Audrey Stone, the blind woman he was trained to guide, the golden retriever’s protective instincts kicked in: He threw himself at the closest part of the vehicle he could.
Police photos show the result: fur stuck to the front driver’s side wheel and in the middle of Michael Neuner Avenue, where the bus came to a stop after striking the pair.
The driver of the Brewster school bus, carrying two kindergartners to St. Lawrence O’Toole Childhood Learning Center, told police he didn’t see the pair crossing the road as they made their way home at about 8:15 Monday morning.
But Bigo saw the bus coming and leapt into action.
Stone, 62, suffered a fractured right elbow, three broken ribs, a fractured ankle and a cut to her head in the accident, said Brewster Police Chief John Del Gardo. Bigo’s leg was cut down to the bone, said Paul Schwartz, who manages the Xtra Mart gas station at the intersection and ran to the scene to help.
“I don’t know if (the driver) thought (Stone) was going to move faster, but it looks like the dog tried to take most of the hit for her,” said Schwartz.
“The dog took a lot of the blow,” Del Gardo said. “And he did not want to leave her side. He stood right with her. He was there to save her.”
The chief said Stone, interviewed in her hospital bed, was happy to hear that Bigo was being treated and that friends are working out the details of the dog’s care while Stone recovers.