One bright and sunny day, Michelle Passalacqua of Farmingville, NY and her two daughters Kaila and Sara decided to have a picnic in the back yard of their home. While Michelle ran inside for drinks, seven-year-old Kaila followed her inside, leaving three-year-old Sara outside to play in their new toy ball pit. Watching closely was their Golden Retriever, Sundance.
Suddenly, Michelle heard her daughter scream and begin to cry. She ran outside and found her daughter crying on top of the picnic table and Sundance barking at a large, dead snake on the ground. The Farmingville mother quickly checked her daughter for bites, but found none. It seems that Sundance had saved the day. The escaped, eight-foot python had made the ball pit his home and when Sara jumped in, he became agitated and started to move towards her. Sundance, in an effort to protect his young owner, barked at the reptile and killed it.
Because of his act of bravery, Sundance was awarded the Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Hero of the Year Award. "When I heard that Sunny had won the Dog Hero of the Year Award, I almost broke into tears," said Passalacqua. "Sundance needed an operation to remove a few tumors from the back of his shoulders and we didn't have enough money to schedule the surgery. Now, we are going to use the prize money for his operation. He has done so much for us, now it's our turn to help him."