As Christmas settles in over our neighborhoods and houses take on a cheerful evening glow, families often enjoy taking trips to view the displays their community has so painstakingly set up.
While we often admire blinking, colorful lights and cute, Christmas-themed statues, we’re not often thinking of how we could use the decor as a weapon — but one man from Canton, Ohio, had the wherewithal to do just that and save a little girl in the process.
Leonard Miller, 88, from Perry Township, is a Korean War Army combat medic, according to WEWS-TV. Whether it was his training or his instinct (or both) that had something to do with his situational awareness, it came in handy when disaster struck.
A 13-year-old neighbor came frantically knocking at his door on Sunday afternoon because the family dog had attacked her little sister.
“And she says, ‘The dog has got a hold of my sister and won’t let go, my little sister,'” Miller told the news outlet.
He quickly followed the teen back to her house, snatching up a 3-foot-tall plastic toy soldier as he went. When he got to the house, the dog had the 10-year-old’s arm firmly clamped in its mouth.
“That dog had that little girl down on the floor and just growling and just shaking her, had her up here on the arm,” Miller said. “It was just shaking her, just like a dog would grab a wild animal.”
Miller explained to WEWS-TV that though he repeatedly hit the pit bull on the back of the head with the Christmas statue, it did nothing to the dog. It took hitting the dog’s back several times to eventually convince it to give up its prey momentarily.
“I hit the dog on the head, I don’t know how many times, but it didn’t faze that dog, didn’t faze it,” Miller told WOIO. “So I got it and hit it on the back several times and it released the little girl then.”
Once it let go of the girl, both sisters scampered out the front door. Miller slowly found his way out the back door, making sure to keep an eye on the dog and loudly telling it “no” to keep him from attacking him.
“And I said, ‘No!’ It was real loud, about three or four times,” Miller said.
After he got outside, he called 911. “This one dog attacked this little girl and it had her down on the floor,” a recording of the call obtained by WEWS-TV reads.
Thankfully, of all the people to live next door, Miller was probably the best-prepared to help the two girls and tend to the 10-year-old’s wounds until help arrived. When backup did get there, they called Miller a hero.
“The medics and everything was here, they said, ‘You saved that girl’s life,'” Miller said.
He doesn’t seem comfortable with the title, but everyone else did, and it has stuck.
According to WEWS-TV, the girl had surgery on her damaged arm on Monday. On the same day, the family also turned over their dog, which had been deemed “vicious,” and the dog was put down.
Miller is glad he could help, but is still understandably rattled by the whole ordeal.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” Miller said. “I’m just glad I was there to help her.”
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