Rescued dog returns favor for Cranberry man who collapsed in yard

Chris Togneri
| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:05 a.m.

The last thing Chuck Weintraub remembers is pushing a lawnmower through his Cranberry yard, surrounded by his three dogs.

When he awoke three days later from a medically induced coma, he was stunned to learn that Chloe — a dog so timid that she covered her eyes with her paws when stressed — had saved his life.

“It shows how much heart is in that dog and how much love,” said Weintraub, 59, who fosters dogs for the Humane Society of Western Pennsylvania. “I got into this to save dogs' lives; she turned it around and saved mine.”

Weintraub collapsed last Wednesday from heart complications. He was home alone with his golden retrievers, DaMa, 8, and Molly, 11, and Chloe, a 1-year-old pit bull-mix Weintraub and his wife began fostering in April.

The retrievers, confined by collars that respond to an invisible electric fence, cannot leave the yard, he said. Weintraub never fit Chloe with a similar collar because she wouldn't leave his side.

After Weintraub's collapse, however, Chloe went down the family's long driveway, crossed a road and stopped in front of a neighbor's house.

“As soon as I saw her at our fence, I knew something was wrong,” neighbor Mike Brock said. “She never wanted anything to do with us before.”

Afraid Chloe would be hit by a car, Brock, his wife Michele, and daughters Melissa and Julianna, tried to calm the dog, which paced nervously.

“As I'd get to her, she'd take off,” Brock said. “But only a little ways, then she'd wait for me. In 15- to 20-foot increments, she was leading me to Chuck.”

Chloe led Brock around the house where the retrievers greeted him, but not in their normal, playful way, Brock said.

“They were moving away from me,” Brock said. “I'd say, ‘Hey, come back here,' and they'd move a little farther up the hill. That's when I saw the bottom of Chuck's shoes.”

He yelled to his wife to call 911 and began chest compressions on Weintraub. Another neighbor, a registered nurse, rushed up the hill and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Throughout the rescue, Chloe laid in the uncut grass, her face inches away from Weintraub's, Michele Brock said.

Six days later, with a newly implanted pacemaker, Weintraub shook his head in disbelief.

“This dog was terrified, traumatized,” he said. “She'd put her paws over her eyes and pretend the world wasn't there, she was so scared. I can't believe she left the yard like that.”

Chloe's owner surrendered her in April upon eviction from a home, said Gretchen Fieser, Humane Society spokeswoman. Mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites, covered the dog's body, Fieser said.

Weintraub nursed Chloe back to health. She is up for adoption, which leaves Weintraub with a difficult decision.

“If I keep her, we'd have no more room for other foster dogs,” he said. “I'm struggling with it.”

His wife, Sherrard Bostwick, also is torn: “It would be really hard to give her up. We'd have to find a family that loves her as much as we do.”

Chris Togneri is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5632 or

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