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Dogs may have saved injured man’s life

By Kay S. Pedrotti They don’t look much like heroes, but two big Labrador retrievers may be the reason why Dan Andrews is still alive. ’They follow me around everywhere,’ Dan said last weekend, still bandaged and sore from his mishap. ‘I am so grateful they did follow me that day I was taking down trees. I believe they saved my life.’ Dan and several others were removing trees and cutting firewood on the Andrews property outside Aldora. Dan said it was getting late, everybody had worked hard, so he told the rest of the team they could go home. ’Then, like I shouldn’t have, I decided to take down one more tree,’ he said. With the chain saw going, he couldn’t hear that a branch up about 25-30 feet in an adjacent tree was falling in his direction. The branch was about 14 feet long and six-plus inches in diameter. It hit just to the right of the top of Dan’s skull — ‘two more inches to the left, it would have killed me’ — and scraped down the side of his head and neck. He fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding profusely. ’I remember they woke me up,’ he related. ’The dogs were beside me. They have this habit that if you don’t respond to them, they prod you with their paws, trying to get your attention. I don’t remember getting up, but I had sense enough to put my stocking cap on because I knew I needed some kind of pressure to stop the bleeding. I walked about 60 yards to a trailer where I could sit down and not be on the ground. I got out my cell phone and called my son Adam,’ a firefighter/EMT with both Lamar and DeKalb Counties. ‘They kept me on the phone and I was talking, off and on.’ ’He got the ball rolling to get help to me,’ Dan continued. ‘When the ambulance got there, it was my nephew Luke and Chris Minchew. They laid me back on the trailer and started to work on me. I got the full treatment, collar and backboard and everything. My wife, Jan, was able to ride up front with Luke on the way to the hospital.’ Jan said Luke ‘kept me calmed down.’ She was at home when the accident occurred but Dan was some distance from the house. She said Dan ‘had every kind of test there was’ at Macon Medical Center, but his skull was not cracked, his vertebrae were intact and there were no other bones broken. He suffered a concussion and severely strained neck, Dan said. He also has a black eye and has lost quite a bit of skin on his scalp. The blood loss was so severe that he didn’t have an IV until he was at the hospital — ‘they couldn’t find a vein,’ he said. ’I am so blessed and thankful to be alive,’ said the 40-year employee of Continental Tire/Aldora Mill. ’I just turned 60 in December and I have a lot still to do and to look forward to.’ His plans are to return to work and to continue in worship and leadership at First Baptist Church where he is a lifelong member. In addition to Adam and his wife Ashleighanne, Dan and Jan have a daughter, Amber, and two granddaughters, Kaylie and Marissa. Dan is the brother of fire chief Steve Andrews. Dan has had the Labs, Trigger and Dirt (named for Georgia red clay because he’s the same color), about three years. He says, ‘They are sure enough my buddies, thank the Lord.’

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