A man and two dogs are being honored this week for fighting off a pack of coyotes and saving the lives of two smaller dogs.
Barry Bannister credits his four decades in the military for his gift to handle dogs.
“I have children but I don’t have no grandchildren, so they are my grandchildren!”
Bannister has two dogs of his own. He works for a friend and takes care of her eight dogs. So on any given day, he is with 10 dogs at a time. They all go on hikes daily.
One summer day in Calico Basin, disaster struck faster than Bannister could have ever imagined.
“Maybe 50 yards from the car and we were hit by a pack of coyotes,” said Bannister.
Bannister says there were so many coyotes, he didn’t have time to count them, but he estimates 12 coyotes.
“We went down this ravine and the coyotes surrounded us,” said Bannister.
Imagine Bannister and his 10 dogs completely surrounded by the pack. Seconds later, they attacked.
“Seconds, it was over in seconds,” he said.
The coyotes managed to grab the two little dogs and started to rip them to shreds. Bannister’s bigger dogs reacted.
“Fitz took the one (coyote), he chased the one of Molly,” he said. “And Ashley grabbed and killed the coyote that was (attacking) Blazer.”
The big dogs chased the coyotes off. They ran away. But it didn’t end there. The little dogs were clinging to life.
“I was trying to get the dogs in the car and save them!”
Bannister keeps an Israeli bandage with him at all times. When they got to the car, Bannister used the bandage to wrap one of the little dogs.
“It clots. I wrapped it around her and then put a tourniquet and it saved her life.”
Bannister sped across town to the hospital with all the dogs in the car. He rushed the little dogs into the emergency room. One of them had to undergo 12 hours of surgery.
“After the surgery, that’s when it finally hit me,” said Bannister. “It was rough during the surgery cause I thought I was gonna lose my little dog.”
Since the attack, Bannister does not go hiking in the Red Rock area anymore. He also carries a gun with him.
Bannister and his two hero dogs are receiving Red Cross Life Saving Awards Thursday morning.