‘Dash’ is man’s best friend – and a life saver for county man

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Arnold and Vera Taylor of McCreary’s Ridge Road were searching for another mixed-breed border collie when they found one a few years ago at an animal shelter in Kentucky.

The couple brought the rescue dog home and named him ‘Dash’, and settled in to comfortable, retirement living.

Little did they know that Dash would turn out to be a good dog, but he would also be a lifesaving hero for their neighbor.

The rescue dog is credited with rescuing his friend.

Darrell Maggert is the Taylors neighbor on the ridge, and Arnold Taylor admits that even though Dash loves he and his wife, he really has affection for Maggart.

“Dash watches and when Darrell’s white pickup truck pulls in the driveway next door, he runs right over there,” Arnold said. “I’ve had him since he was a pup, but he likes Darrell more than he likes me.”

“I don’t know why he likes me so good,” Maggart said, “But when he sees my truck in the driveway, here he comes and if I stay two days, he’ll stay right over there the whole time with me.”

On Saturday, September 5th, Maggart went out to do some work on his deer stand in the woods near his home. As was normal, Dash tagged along.

While working on the stand, a metal hook that straps the stand to the tree snapped, sending Maggart falling 20 feet to the ground, and causing severe injuries. With a broken pelvis, a broken tailbone. and breaks in his back along with other injuries, Maggart couldn’t move or help himself.

Luckily, he did have Dash.

Over the next 4 1/2 hours, Maggart laid helpless on the ground, while Dash stayed right by his side, protecting him.

“The doctors said that he saved Darrell’s life,” Arnold Taylor said. “He stayed right with him and didn’t leave him.”

“Right after I fell, I couldn’t move and I began sweating laying there,” Maggart said from his nursing home bed where he continues to recover and receive physical therapy for his injuries. “Once the sun started going down, I began to get cold because I was so sweaty. Dash laid on me and kept me warm until help got there.”

It was about 8:30 p.m. when Darrell’s wife, Fionia, who is Arnold Taylor’s cousin, came over to the Taylor home, worried that her husband hadn’t come home yet.

“I knew about where he was at, because I knew where the tree stand was,” Arnold said. “As I went down over the hill, Dash started barking to tell me where they were at. I was the first one to get to him.”

Emergency responders from East Enterprise, Florence, and Vevay all came to the scene to help get Maggart out of the woods, and after carefully loading him onto the back of Taylor’s ATV, they began the slow drive out of the woods and to medical help.

“They took him to University Hospital by helicopter when it first happened,” Arnold Taylor said. “It’s going to be awhile, because he’s not good. They won’t let him try to walk for quite awhile, because they had to put metal plates and they’ve got to wait until those heal up.”

The Taylors stopped and visited Maggart recently, and if in-patient therapy continues to go well, he is expected to come home this weekend.

Darrell Maggart can’t help but get emotional when he talks about Dash and the experience the two shared together.

“I was repairing my treestand, and working on the straps on it because the squirrels cut them and stuff, and it still had one good, strong one on it, so I thought it was safe. It felt ok, but buddy, when I got up on it, the strap didn’t break, the big metal hook broke, just like you sawed that sucker right in two.”

When the hook snapped, it sent the treestand – and Maggart – tumbling out of the tree and to the ground.

“He was running around and chasing squirrels while I was working on my stand,” Maggart said of Dash, “But when I crashed to the ground, that old dog came to me and never left.”

The next hours were incredible.

“He got right next against me and kept me from freezing to death,” Maggart remembered. “I couldn’t move, my body felt like it weighed 500 pounds. I just had to lay there. My wife knew I was down in there, but I didn’t know when she’d get worried and start looking for me.

Maggart says he never passed out during the ordeal, but he believes that he broke out in a heavy sweat from the shock.

“I was soaking wet, and then, in the evening when it started cooling down, I started getting real cold,” he said. “That dog, he could sense it or something. He hugged right up to me.

“I told him, ‘Dash, you sure do stink, but I don’t care, you’re good and warm’,” Maggart continued.

The dog laid right next to Maggart’s side, and Maggart said that he leaned heavily on Dash because of the pain and discomfort, but the dog never left.

“He did get up one time, but that was to move from one side of me to the other,” Maggart said. “It’s like he just knew that he needed to help me.”

“He kept me warm until help got there,” Maggart said. “That old dog saved my life.”

Hours later, when Arnold Taylor came down over the hill and hollered, that’s when Dash took over again.

“As soon as he heard his master holler, he started barking,” Maggart said. “But he still wouldn’t leave me. He stayed right there with me until Arnold got to us.”

So when you speak of dog being man’s best friend, Darrell Maggart can attest to that.

“Absolutely,” he said, voice wavering. “My, wife, she don’t like dogs but I do, she said she was going to buy him the biggest bone she can find.”

Maggart said that he’s been lying flat on his back for the past six weeks, and knows that there is more physical therapy to come before he can even begin to learn to walk again.

“I go back to the doctor in a couple of weeks here,” he said. “That will be eight weeks that I’ve been off my legs. He said I’d probably have to stay off of them about three months, until my back heals. Once I get home, I’ll be able to do therapy and stuff there, but I still can’t walk. I’ll just have to be in a wheelchair. I can’t get on my feet or nothing. Once I go back to the doctor, if everything’s healing ok, maybe he’ll let me do some therapy and start putting some pressure on my legs.”

He understands what was at stake in the woods that day.

“I’m lucky I didn’t paralyze myself,” Maggart says. “They said I’m healing up real good and things are going great. One leg, it’s still pretty numb, but they said that eventually that will go away. But I’m still here. I was just trying to be safe and make my treestand safe, then the daggone very thing I didn’t think would break, broke; so tell everybody that they better not take no chances with those old metal hooks. They better strap it up there other ways, too. Tie it and everything else.”

And, along with Dash, Darrell Maggart also has words of thanks for emergency workers.

“I want to thank all those lifesquad guys for helping me,” he said with words filled with emotion. “There was a whole bunch of them up there. I think they was all there trying to help me. We’ve got a good group of people here. I sure appreciate it.”