Gary Watkins, eleven years old, was absorbed in chasing lizards when Weela, the family Pit Bull, plowed into him with a body slam that sent him sprawling. Gary's mother, Lori, saw the whole incident and remembers being surprised at first, because Weela always played kindly with children. But her surprise quickly turned to horror when she saw a rattlesnake sink its fangs into Weela's face. Somehow Weela had sensed the snake's presence from across the yard and rushed to push Gary out of strinking range.
Luckily for thirty people, twenty-nine dogs, thirteen horses and a cat, Weela recovered from the snake's venom. Luckily, because that's how many lives she saved a few years later. For her heroism, Weela was named Ken-L Ration's Dog Hero of the Year in 1993. The press release read in part: