‘Hero’ boy mauled saving sister from dog
When a vicious dog rushed at Bridger Walker's little sister, his first instinct was to act as a human shield - a decision that likely saved the little girl's life.
The six-year-old, from Wyoming in the US, was brutally mauled himself during the July 9 attack - but his heroic efforts meant his sister was spared.
Little Bridger received horrific injuries and required 90 stitches - but now, people around the globe are praising his selflessness after his aunt paid tribute to the boy on social media.
"My nephew is a hero who saved his little sister from an attacking dog," proud aunt Nicole Walker posted on Instagram, along with a series of photos of the tight-knit siblings.
"He, himself, took on the attack so that the dog wouldn't get his sister.
"He later said, 'If someone was going to die, I thought it should be me'. He got home from the hospital last night."
Ms Walker added that although she believed it was a "long shot", she was reaching out to actors who had played Avengers superheroes on the big screen - as well as other "heroes" - so they could "learn about this latest addition to their ranks".
The post attracted an outpouring of emotion and support for Bridger's bravery, with social media users variously describing him as an "absolute legend" and the "best big brother".
Ms Walker later edited the post to add that she "never expected my sweet nephew's story to reach so many".
In a second post, she uploaded photos of Bridger's injuries along with an update on his recovery and urged people to share the story.
"We know that our little hero would love some words of encouragement from his favourite heroes," she wrote.
"On July 9th, my six year old nephew Bridger saved his little sister's life by standing between her and a charging dog. After getting bit several times on the face and head, he grabbed his sister's hand and ran with her to keep her safe.
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"After receiving 90 stitches (give or take) from a skilled plastic surgeon, he's finally resting at home. We love our brave boy."
She added that his wounds were "looking so much better" and that he was in "great spirits" with his "awesome personality" still intact.
"He can't smile too widely yet, but he was grinning as I read some of your comments to him," she said.
Ms Walker also pointed out that there was no animosity between the family and the dog's owners, who she described as "really great people" who had been "nothing but kind to Bridger and his family".
"We feel no resentment toward them at all, and - if anything - there's only been an increase of love between our families as a result of this incident," she said.
Ms Walker added that as Bridger was a "huge fan" of science and geology, she was setting up a page where people can share snaps of "cool rocks" with him.
The moving story has since gone global - and Ms Walker got her wish, with Hulk star Mark Ruffalo commenting that he admired the child's "courage" and "heart".
"Real courage isn't dominating people or fighting against people or walking around like a tough guy. Real courage is knowing what is right to do and doing it even when it might end up hurting you somehow," the actor posted.
Actress Octavia Spencer also shared a message of support, posting that: "I'm not an Avenger but I know and appreciate them as I appreciate your little hero. Angel hugs for you."
Originally published as 'Hero' boy mauled saving sister from dog