A DOG has made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his owner from an attacking brown snake.
Four-year-old Rusty died after a snake bit him while defending Moonford's Gaylene Howell.
"I am grateful that I'm alive, but Rusty has left a big void. He is much missed," Mrs Howell said.
"That snake was the biggest I have ever seen, maybe five to six foot long.
"It was so vicious, and was just so intent on biting something."
It was a normal afternoon on November 27 at Mrs Howell's property in Moonford when she was having a rest inside the house.
"Another one of our dogs started barking underneath the house, and Rusty went to bark too," she said.
"Last time they did that there were rats under there.
"So I got off the bed, and went to have a look and saw a cat.
"I thought they were barking at the cat, so I went and sat on the grass nearby.
"Then the snake just came from under the house towards me, and Rusty grabbed it by its tail and flung it away.
"The snake's face was not far from mine."
The snake then wrapped around plant pots and prepared for its next strike.
"The snake jumped at me, even more aggressive this time, and Rusty once again grabbed its tail and flung it away," she said.
"It was then actively chasing and trying to attack Rusty."
Mrs Howell didn't see the snake bite Rusty.
"There was no bite mark or indication that he was bitten. Then he was peeing blood. I called the vet; the chance of him surviving was extremely slim," she said.
She worked to cool Rusty down from the adrenaline rush.
"I thought he was over heated, so put him into a bath," she said.
Protecting Mrs Howell might have been the much loved dog's last brave act, but it was definitely not the first.
"Rusty has saved me from seven snakes in total," Mrs Howell said.
"I felt very safe around him."
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