LANCASTER, Calif. - Cole Lewis and his family embraced their dog Nala Monday afternoon when she jumped out of a hyperbaric chamber at their veterinary hospital.
It's the first time they've seen their dog since she jumped in front of Cole and his mom when they saw a rattlesnake while taking a walk in their Lancaster neighborhood Sunday.
"She waited until we were safe. She stood her ground. She didn't like whimper or anything when she got bit," Cole said.
Nala was bit once on the nose and was bleeding when Cole's stepdad, Anthony Borquez, rushed their boxer to the veterinary hospital. The faster you get help following a rattlesnake bite, the greater chance an animal or human has for survival.
"When my son had told me it was light green, I knew that it was a Mojave green (snake) and they're extremely poisonous, way more so than a diamondback," Borquez said.
Borquez said his family won't be walking or bike riding anymore in the desert landscape where they saw the snake. The fall and spring are the most active times for rattlesnake sightings. The veterinary hospital said they treat about 150 cases of dogs being bit by rattlesnakes each year.
"I grew up with boxers. They're incredibly protective dogs. That's why we got the breed. We got her from a rescue. We rescued her and she rescued us," Borquez said.
In the panic of Nala getting bitten by a rattlesnake, Cole left his bike at the spot and when his family came back to pick it up, it had been stolen. But they're not concerned about the bike, they're just happy Nala will be coming home in the next 24 hours.
"She saved my life, and I just want to hang out with her now because she's my hero," Cole said.
The family said medical bills for Nala's recovery will cost $4,000 dollars, and they've setup a GoFundMe page to help pay for those bills.
If you want to donate to help out Nala, you can head to www.gofundme.com/nala-the-hero-boxer.