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Move over, Lassie: Real-life dog to the rescue for homeless man

Forget Lassie.

A homeless man outside Olympia, Wash., is thanking his dog, Buddy, for heroics that may well have saved his life.

On Wednesday afternoon, the man – whose identity is not being released by police – tucked a note into his dog’s harness with a hastily written plea for help. Since early that morning he had been unable to move, lying on the floor of the makeshift home he had constructed in the woods near Tumwater.

“This was his last-ditch effort. He thought he was going to die,” said Detective Jen Kolb of the Tumwater Police Department.

Luckily, a woman who frequently walked her dog through the woods recognized Buddy and noticed the note. The word “HELP” was scribbled in large font, with the plea: “Send help. No joke. Cannot walk.”

The woman quickly dialed 911, but what was missing from the SOS was the man’s name or any indication of where he was. But on the other side of the scrap paper were directions to the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services, which frequently works with the area’s homeless.

Police scoured the woods, known to have a large homeless population, looking for make-shift shelters where the injured man may have been. After a short search, the man was found and transported to a hospital in Olympia where he was treated and released.

“This was his best friend, and the one he relied on when he needed someone the most,” said Kolb. “It’s one of those heartwarming stories that kind of remind you of Lassie."

The man is recovering with friends, while Buddy has been taken in by animal services.