A 7-month-old Orange County Chocolate Lab owes her life to the heroic neighbor who rescued her from a swarm of more than 150 bees. Ghirardelli—Elli for short—was lounging in the yard of her La Habra Heights home when the bees descended.
Elli’s owner, Michael Francis Schiotis was not at home at the time of the attack. If not for the brave response of a neighbor, Elli may have succumbed to her injuries.
Schiotis’ teenage stepson and a friend tried to rush to Elli’s aid, but were overcome by the bees and chased nearly 500 yards. A quick-thinking next-door neighbor threw on a helmet, welder’s gloves, and protective clothing before rushing to the pup’s rescue. He carried Elli to safety inside the home where she collapsed and went limp.
Her breathing was shallow and labored, her face and eyes full of dirt from her attempts to burrow away from the stinging insects. Schiotis’ stepson rushed Elli to an animal hospital in Fullerton where she was seen immediately ahead of the other patients due to the severity of her condition. Her blood pressure had plummeted and she was battling severe nausea from the massive amounts of venom.
Veterinary staff treated Elli with antihistamines and fluids, keeping her overnight for close observation. More than 150 stingers were removed from Elli’s face and body. Mr. Schiotis told the OC Register that Elli is doing “remarkably well” despite the deadly attack:
She’s sleeping a lot, but she’s eating well. We have to give her food a little at a time because she had stings inside her mouth.
Schiotis has discovered that another of his neighbors was keeping the suspected Africanized honey bees which are illegal in La Habra Heights due to their aggressive nature. He is hopeful that the man will assume responsibility for Elli’s $1900 vet bill, but assures the OC Register that he “would gladly have paid it regardless” in order to save his sweet puppy’s life.
I’m excited about watching her grow up. She’s a good girl.
Schiotis and Elli owe their heroic next door neighbor a massive debt of gratitude for his bravery and swift action.