Kodi, a 3-year-old Samoyed, saved Brenda Lacroix of Davisburg from an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake during a June walk in Shiawassee Basin Park in Springfield Township, Lacroix told the Detroit Free Press.
"This thing flew at his face," said Lacroix, a retired veterinary technician. "It was 3 1/2 feet long and the width of my arm."
Lacroix rushed Kodi's sagging body to her former employer as his face started to swell, and then the dog passed out.
While one veterinarian stabilized Kodi, another tried to find viper antivenin, which blocks the proteins that destroy blood vessels and cause internal bleeding.
The Detroit Zoo finally came through with five vials of expired antivenin, no longer usable on humans.
Over 5 hours, Kodi took the antivenin intravenously. Lacroix and Kodi have not been back to the park since.
Since the encounter, Kodi has lost control of an eyelid, drools and can't handle hot weather.
"Some days, I look at him and my heart breaks, and some days I look at him and think, 'What a brave boy,'" Lacroix said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]