“Paws of Bravery: How a Service Dog Acted as a Lifesaver to Protect his Blind Owner from a School Bus Collision”

Audrey Stone, who is legally blind and currently hospitalized at Danbury Hospital, shared the story of her loyal companion, Figo. The eight-year-old golden retriever bravely positioned himself in front of a mini-school bus to shield Stone from harm in Brewster on Monday. As a joke, Stone playfully suggested that Figo deserves to receive a Purple Heart from the President for his heroic act. Figo was trained by the Guide Dog Foundation in Smithtown and is Stone’s third service dog. She had previously been accompanied by Buddy, a black Labrador, and Leilani, another golden retriever. Stone fondly reminisced about how she and Figo bonded immediately upon their first meeting.

Stone shared that she has a deep connection with Figo, emphasizing the fact that they look out for each other and provide mutual support. She also revealed that her health is being monitored with various medical devices as she suffered from multiple injuries such as three fractured ribs, a damaged foot, and a shattered elbow. This unfortunate event happened when they were on their way back home from their usual walk to Brewster. While crossing Michael Neuner Drive, Stone instructed Figo to cross the street, resulting in the accident.

Stone reflected on the incident with a quiet voice, suggesting they move past it. Suddenly, they were in the middle of the street without any warning. The event unfolded so quickly that witnesses gave conflicting reports – some claimed Figo heroically jumped in front of the bus, while others believed he was already in harm’s way. Stone explained that the bus was carrying two young children and that the driver, who has been suspended during the investigation, didn’t see them.
Due to her visual impairment, Stone struggled to recall the details of the event. She only remembers one moment – seeing Figo crawling towards her with a badly damaged paw. She had a feeling that he was in terrible pain, and as he approached her, she noticed his paw was bleeding heavily. “I was in shock and looked like I had been through a war,” Stone recounted. “Figo wanted to come closer, but he sensed my injuries and didn’t know how to help.”

Figo had to undergo a surgical procedure at Middlebranch Veterinary located in Southeast, to treat a wound on his right front leg. Fortunately, Figo is now on the path to recovery and is receiving support from a sling. The heartening story of Stone and Figo has garnered widespread attention, capturing the interest of numerous individuals and media outlets. In fact, Lohud.com received an outpouring of support from readers across the country. Closer to home, Pastor Jennifer Boyd paid Stone a visit in the hospital, and both she and media outlets received calls from well-wishers. It’s worth mentioning that Figo accompanies Stone to Trinity Lutheran Church, where he only goes up to receive communion without actually partaking in it.

Boyd was distressed when he heard about the incident and shared his concern. He mentioned that Audrey and Figo often took that road, and everyone knew about their close friendship. Although Audrey needed hospitalization and Figo had to stay with his trainer, Boyd hoped they would soon be reunited as it would be beneficial for both of them. The doctors were keeping a close eye on Audrey’s condition, and she would need more surgery and rehabilitation. It’s uncertain when she can meet her loyal four-legged friend again.

Stone shared that she was certain she would have been devastated if her companion had been killed, but thankfully they both survived the ordeal. When asked about her companion’s heroic actions, Stone was not surprised as he has always been protective of her, even going so far as to position himself between her and her shopping cart to prevent accidents. In a lighthearted moment, Stone also revealed that she had planned to get a dental procedure done on Monday but had to miss it due to the unexpected event.

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