Image: Lorio and 'Hero'
Elliott Minor  /  AP
Shannon Lorio, 36, pets "Hero," the German shepherd she credits with saving her life.
updated 2/2/2007 10:51:56 PM ET 2007-02-03T03:51:56

A south Georgia woman bloodied in a car wreck says she owes her life to a German shepherd who — thankfully — just wouldn’t stay in his yard.

Shannon Lorio says that after her car careened down an embankment, the wayward dog found her bruised and battered on the vehicle’s trunk, pulled her by her shirt collar, dragged her about 50 yards through briars to a highway and let her lean against him so she could flag a passing motorist.

His new name: Hero.

“That dog is always going to have a special place in my heart,” Lorio said Friday. “He’s my hero.”

Hero’s previous owners have signed him over to the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society since the Jan. 26 accident because he kept wandering off.

He won’t be in the shelter long: Not only have at least 50 people offered to adopt him, a dog trainer has agreed to see if he has the right stuff for search and rescue work.

Lorio’s car tumbled backward down an embankment in a remote, heavily wooded area. She said she lost control on a curve and was thrown onto the trunk.

“I was bleeding from my face and my nose,” she said. “All of a sudden, I felt a presence — a really huge presence. He was straddling me. I have watched too many horror movies about werewolves and vampires. I thought he was going to eat me.”

Instead, the dog licked her face, she said.

The 2-year-old dog, weighing 70 pounds, dragged the 136-pound Lorio to the highway, then stood by to help her summon help before she collapsed, she said.

Lorio, 36, of Pavo, said she can’t adopt Hero because she already has six dogs, but she’s showered him with gifts including a huge bone and a stuffed animal.

“If he ever needs anything, I’ll be there,” she said.

Dog trainer Heidy Drawdy, of Thomasville, will take Hero next week to see if he’s cut out to be a search and rescue dog.

First item on the agenda for the wandering canine: obedience training.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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