Dog bitten by rattlesnake while protecting owner

Todd the golden retriever was labelled a hero for putting himself in harm's way to protect his owner - and was bitten by a rattlesnake in the process.

Paula Godwin posted the story to Facebook, alongside pictures of Todd's swollen face, describing what happened.

"As we were walking down the hill I literally almost stepped on a rattlesnake. But my
hero of a puppy Todd saved me."

Todd was called into action when Paula found herself face-to-face with a rattlesnake on a hike trail in Arizona.

"He bolted by my leg," she told the BBC. "That's when he was hit by the snake.

"Todd was yelping right away, crying. I picked him up, ran down the hill with my other dog Copper, and we got him to the hospital within about 10 minutes of being bit.

"He got the anti-venom quickly and was in the hospital for about 12 hours.

"He for sure saved me from being bit. He's my hero."

Paula explained that she was aware of the risks rattlesnakes pose where she lives, but said that this particular reptile was almost undetectable.

"I am a native from Arizona," she said, "I know all the dangers, I am very vigilant of where I am and my surroundings.

"This snake did not give any indication he was there. Usually if I hear that rattle I am alert and I am backing away.

"I think he was just resting in the road - he was a grey speckled white rattlesnake, he looked just like the road.

"I am so aware, so vigilant, but I didn't see him."

Pictures of Todd have been widely shared online, with popular Twitter account WeRateDogs calling the puppy "a true hero".