By Holly Morgan, WPDE
In dog years, Daisy is 77 years old. She's a very smart dog, trained by Duke University when she was a puppy to medically assist Timmy Blackburn, who suffers from a sleeping disorder. "I quit breathing at night when I'm sleeping. They trained her to sleep around my neck and every 15 to 20 minutes she'll put her nose underneath mine to see if I'm breathing. If I'm not breathing, she's trained to lick my face and if I'm still not breathing they have her trained to pound on my chest," Blackburn said.
Daisy doesn't stop there. If Blackburn still doesn't respond, she knows to press the lifeline button that hangs loosely around his neck. An ambulance will then arrive within three to five minutes.
"I love her like I love my own children," Blackburn, a Vietnam War veteran said.
The two have taken a walk down the same stretch of Highway 9 Business in Loris for the past five years. But today, Daisy stays confined on the porch because of an incident involving a neighbor's Pitbull that Blackburn says left them both injured.
"The gentleman that lives on the road has a vicious Pitbull dog. Usually he's on a chain, but on that particular morning, I seen the chain in the dog house and I thought the dog was in the house too. All of the sudden he appeared from behind a tree and viciously attacked my little dog and I broke two of my fingers and injured my knuckles trying to get him lose from her. I finally managed to get the dog lose and it bit me in seven places. He tore skin," Blackburn said.
Blackburn called Horry County police and filed a report. Daisy was taken to the vet. "I'm on an antibiotic. She's on an antibiotic. The vet said there's a good chance she's going to lose two of her teeth. Right now they're wired together. There's a good possibility she'll be blind in her left eye," Blackburn added.
According to the police report, the owner of the Pitbull provided the name of its veterinarian to an official with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and said that the dog's shots were current at the time of the incident on July 19th.
At this point, no charges have been filed. But a tentative court date has been set for August 15 at the Magistrate's Office in Loris.
In the meantime, Daisy and Blackburn will continue to heal. Despite her injuries, Daisy is still very loyal to her owner. "My dog still wants to do her job at night. She still wants me to pick her up and put her around my neck so she can keep smelling my breath, even though she's traumatized. I love her for that."
Blackburn plans to appear in court next month. Whatever happens from that day forward will be the courts decision. But until then, he feels as though his story should be a lesson to every pet owner. "I'm an animal lover, but there's just no room in this world for dogs that are vicious and will bite, especially a human being."