The Svillicic family from Cairns, Australia had only one child, whom they named Charlotte. When Charlotte was 17 months old, mom Catherine wanted to get her a canine companion. Little did she know that the decision would change their family life forever.
Rather than adopting a puppy from a dog breeder, Catherine wanted to give a rescue dog a loving family, so she went to the local animal shelter. A large Doberman Pinscher in particular caught Catherine's eye, but the workers told her that the dog was scheduled to be euthanized the next week. What was wrong with this dog?
It turned out that this Doberman was purebred and had been purchased from a breeder, but unfortunately neglected. When the dog was rescued, he was starving, had broken ribs and had been beaten - he was an abused dog. Catherine felt she must do something to save him.
Workers suggested that this Doberman might not be ideal for a family with small children, due to his past and his breed. Catherine insisted on adopting him though and named him Khan, the Mongolian title for a ruler. As Catherine herself grew up with a dog, she was confident in her knowledge of how to raise and train Khan.
Catherine brought the lovable dog home to her family, introducing him to her daughter slowly and cautiously. She felt that the dog was brought to her for some reason. What happened later proved her right.
Despite Khan's breed and background, Charlotte and Khan quickly became the best of friends. Khan followed Charlotte around the house and backyard, always protecting her vigilantly. Khan did not show any signs of aggression towards Charlotte until one day...
On the fourth day after Khan came to the family, a disaster struck. As Charlotte was playing in the backyard with Khan, Catherine noticed something odd about Khan. She saw that Khan was repeatedly nudging little Charlotte until she fell over. But the attack didn't end there.
Before Catherine had the chance to react, Khan grabbed Charlotte by her diaper and threw her over his shoulder more than a meter. At first, Catherine stood horrified at the scene, but within a second, she sprang into action and raced to save her daughter from the attacking Doberman.
But when Catherine got to her daughter, something strange happened. Charlotte seemed fine! Khan, on the other hand, looked lethargic and slowly fell to the ground, with his tongue out of his mouth and his eyes closed. Catherine immediately knew that Khan's life was at risk and jumped into action again.
Catherine raced like never before and with near-superhuman strength, she scooped up Khan under one arm and her daughter Charlotte under the other, before speeding off in the car. Without even thinking, she slammed her foot on the gas and drove as fast as she could to the veterinary hospital.
Catherine burst into the hospital and doctors raced to help her. By this point Khan was fully paralyzed, his body limp and eyes closed. Doctors found that Khan had been bitten on the leg by an extremely venomous snake and the venom was spreading through his body at an alarming rate. They immediately administered a powerful anti-venom. But although the dog had received a timely cure, his survival wasn't certain.
Khan's survival depended on many factors: What type of snake had bitten him; how much venom he had received from the bite; how fast the venom had spread throughout his body; and his body's ability to fight the venom and produce the antibodies necessary to pull through. It was hard to tell whether or not Khan would wake up again.
It turned out that there was a deadly king brown snake hiding in the grass of the Svillicic's backyard, where Charlotte and Khan played daily. It is the second most venomous snake in the world and is responsible for around 60% of all snake-related deaths in Australia.
When playing with Charlotte in the backyard, Khan saw the king brown snake slithering in the grass and placed himself between his little girl and the deadly serpent. When Charlotte didn't react to his nudges, Khan grabbed her by her diaper and threw her away to safety. He allowed himself to be bitten instead.
Khan had only spent four days with the Svillicic family, but to them, he was already a member of the family. Charlotte had already grown so fond of Khan that she considered him her best friend. And as any best friend would do, Khan saved Charlotte from the deadly snake. The entire family was heartbroken to learn that there was a chance Khan might not make it.
Catherine waited anxiously at the hospital for news of her hero, but things weren't looking good. The doctor told her that they had done all they could for Khan and that he had a long night ahead of him. Catherine had to return home.
The Svillicic family rose very early the next morning and rushed to the veterinary hospital. The doctors informed them that Khan was doing well after a long night and was expected to make a full recovery. The family's hero was going to be just fine.
When Khan finally came back home from the veterinary hospital, he was entitled "Khan the Wonder Dog" by his family. Khan, who was once abused and neglected, repaid his new family in the most amazing way possible.