Parent of 17-month-old Charlotte Svilicic couldn’t believe what they were seeing when the family dog suddenly grabbed the child with his teeth and threw her across the garden. “If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it,” Charlotte’s mother Catherine told the Australian newspaper The Advertiser. “Khan was really concentrating and was acting aggressive towards Charlotte and kept trying to nudge her but it wasn’t working, so he grabbed her by the back of the nappy and threw her more than a meter.” Catherine ran to her child and saw the reason for Khan’s violent behavior, a deadly snake lay inches from where little Charlotte had been sitting.
“I realized quickly it was a snake and Khan had been trying to get in between her and the snake before he threw her,” Catherine said. While rescuing the little girl, Khan was bitten by the poisonous brown snake. The brave Doberman struggled to walk back inside their home before collapsing from the venom. Fortunately Khan was given a shot of anti-venom before it was too late.
The nature of Khan’s relationship to the Svilicic family makes this story even more fascinating. Catherine had only adopted Khan a mere 4 days before he saved Charlotte’s life. He had been abused and left to die by his previous owner and the Svilicic family saved his life. Somehow he knew, and risked his life to save their little girl.
“When [Doberling Boarding Kennels owner] Kerry Kinder rescued him, he was starving, had broken ribs and had been beaten,” Catherine told The Advertiser. “He was an abused dog. It was borderline on whether or not he should be put down because he was in such a bad way. If Khan wants a gold bowl, Khan gets it. We owe him for the rest of his life.”
Khan himself only narrowly escaped death from the brown snake’s bite. An Atherton snake expert believes the dog only survived because the snake wasn’t able to inject more venom. The bite could have easily proved fatal for the young girl had her faithful new friend not intervened.