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June 23, 2017

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Hero dog dies saving master from snake bite

TAINAN, Taiwan -- Another loyal dog that gave its own life to save its master from a poisonous snake bite became a hero of pet lovers on the island.

A Ms. Lin of Gueiren in southern Tainan County adopted a homeless indigenous Taiwanese dog from a shelter of stray pets eight years ago. She named the new family member "Ahbao" (meaning "cougar") because of its yellow color and running speed.

When Lin was washing clothes in the backyard at around 10:00 p.m. the other night, she was stunned by the sudden sight of a long snake. Before she could respond, Ahbao charged and started a fight.

Hearing the noise, Lin's husband rushed out of the room he was in and saw Ahbao bite the belly of the snake to guard his masters. Seeing the snake losing its strength, Lin and her husband called the fire department for assistance.

Firemen said the 1.5-meter snake was a Chinese cobra, one of the mostly deadly species of snakes that often causes deaths in Taiwan every year. After being locked up in a cage at the fire department, the cobra soon regained its strengthen.

Ahbao seemed normal at first and played in the backyard. However, about 30 minutes later, he started foaming at the mouth and lied down in a corner.

The couple immediately rushed Ahbao to an animal hospital, but he died soon after from a snake bite near the corner of his mouth.

The vets at the hospital said they could not save Ahbao because the hospital did not have the right kind of anti-venom.

In commemoration of Ahbao's heroic behavior, Lin buried him in the backyard and wrote an article expressing her appreciation for his sacrifice. The article is currently circulating on the Internet to be shared by countless people.

Lin's article drew warm responses from dog lovers who sent their condolences and praised the bravery of Ahbao. Some comforted Lin saying they were sure Ahbao's soul will continue to guard her in return for her care during the past eight years.

Lin blamed a snake farm in the area for the cobra. But the owner of the farm denied the accusation, and said that he has adopted painstaking measures to prevent escape of any of his snakes.

Health officials said there are around 500 cases of snake bites in subtropical Taiwan every year and about 10 percent end in death. Experts advise residents to take proper preventive measures to ward off the approach of any snakes near their houses. Simple and useful steps include not leaving food out or letting rats live around the house since those are among the major attractions for snakes.

People should also constantly clean the environment to make sure that there will be no place for the snakes to hide or build nests. Fishing nets can be installed along fences or walls if frequented by snakes. Fishing nets with small holes are highly effective because they can easily block and trap the snakes by the scales on their skin, the experts said.

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