Cattle dog saves local farmer's life

Posted--Monday, June 24th 2013--10:00 p.m.

To Clinton-area farmer Dave Ferwerda, his 8-year-old red heeler named Hannah is more than "man's best friend", she was a lifesaver.

On a March morning, Ferwerda was going into a barn to fix something. When he slid the door open, he surprised a pregnant cow, which attacked him and mauled him. Ferwerda said, " I was in shock, so I couldn't walk. I went out on my hands and knees and she (Hannah) kept the cow away.. stayed right there. She would get the cow by the nose and bite it, and get it back."

Outside of the barn where he nearly lost his life, Ferwerda said, "She stayed between the cow and myself. Unbelievable! What loyalty. The love I've got for this particular dog, it's hard for me to express it. She's more than just a lifesaver, she's such a good little dog...just absolutely wonderful."

With emotion in his voice, Ferwerda added, "She's not a show dog...she doesn't do tricks. But she's got so many other things about her that are so precious....almost like a little human being. I have a hard time talking about it without getting choked up."

Hannah is so brave and devoted, cows have kicked four or five of her teeth out, but she doesn't back down when they come near. Ferwerda said, "All of my dogs have been good dogs, but you always get one in a life that's special." And that dog, for Ferwerda, is definitely Hannah--a dog to whom he owes his life.

Ferwerda is also grateful to his neighbor and friend, Mary. A month after the accident, Ferwerda just wasn't himself. He was having trouble driving, and was having terrible headaches. That's when Mary stepped in. She took him to the doctor, who rushed him to Madison immediately for emergency surgery. Ferwerda had a blood clot on his brain that probably would have killed him, if it weren't for Mary intervening. So, his life has been saved twice by some pretty good friends.

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