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NBC Philadelphia - Dawn Timmeney
Max, an 11-year-old chocolate lab, saved his own life after his owner mistakenly left him inside a hot car.
A very clever canine left in a dire situation decided to take matters into his own paws and it saved his life.
Max, an 11-year-old chocolate Lab, loves a good game of catch and what dog doesn't.
But his owner Donna Gardner of Macungie, Pa. says she knew from the moment she got him that he wasn't like most dogs.
"He's just a strange dog, he does things that normal dogs don't do," Donna said.
Max can climb out of swimming pool using the ladder and he rings a bell when he has to go out. But on a steamy summer day when Donna accidentally left him in the car, Max needed to send out an S.O.S.
No, he didn't bark. He honked the car's horn.
"He did it twice...two times," Donna said.
That's because the first time Donna looked out, she didn't notice anything, so Max laid on the horn again.
"I'm thinking 'Who is blowing the horn out there,'" Donna said. "I went out on the porch this time and there is Max sitting in the front seat of my car. Well, obviously it was him that blew the horn."
Max's life-saving stunt has made him a celebrity of sorts, but Donna says at the time it was pretty scary. Max had been in the car for about an hour and it was 90-degrees outside.
"I was hysterical. I could not call the vet, my daughter had to call the vet because I couldn't talk," Donna said. "I was crying. I just couldn't believe I did that to him."
After getting Max water and cooling him off with wet towels, Donna rushed him to her vet -- Dr. Nancy Soares, whose office had gotten the emergency call and was ready for anything.
"His cooling mechanism, which the only one dogs have really is panting, was pretty severe," Dr. Soares of Macungie Animal Hospital said.
Dr. Soares says Donna did all the right things and Max did not need much medical care. Still, she says Max is a lucky dog.
Dr. Soares says even with the windows rolled down on a 72-degree day, the car temperature can hit 100 to 120-degrees in just 10 minutes.
"The mortality rate in dogs that suffer heat exhaustion is about 50-percent. It's a pretty high number," Dr. Soares said. "Lucky for Max, he saved his own life."
Donna says she doesn't know where Max learned to honk the horn. She says she is not a honker, but obviously she is very glad he figured it out.
Of course he wasn't the least bit interested in showing us his honking skill during our recent visit.