The Jordan family dog is a bona fide hero. Benjamin and Hope Jordan had recently relocated to Charleston, South Carolina when they hired 22 year-old Alexis Khan to sit for their 7 month-old son Finn.

Khan had come up clean on a background check, but after about five months, the family noticed that their dog, Killian, was very defensive when the sitter would come over. Benjamin said, “He was very aggressive towards her and a few times we actually had to physically restrain our dog from going towards her.”

The Jordan’s suspicions were raised and that’s when Hope suggested keeping tabs on the sitter by putting an iPhone under the couch to record audio while they were out of the house.

“It started with cussing,” Benjamin said. “Then you hear slap noises and his crying changes from a distress cry to a pain cry. I just wanted to reach through the audio tape, go back in time and just grab [Finn] up.”

Khan has been arrested and pleaded guilty to assault and battery. She will serve one to three years in prison, and will be placed on a child abuse registry, preventing her from working with children in the future.

As for Killian, he is now in training to become a psychiatric service dog.

Dogs protecting children is a not uncommon occurrence. In April 2011, in Kershaw County (also in South Carolina), a 22 month-old toddler wandered off. A police search failed to find anything as nighttime temperatures dropped to 16º F. In the morning, though, the infant was found safe in a neighbor’s yard, where the neighbor’s dog had taken the child to a nest of brush and sticks and kept him warm and alive.

In Argentina, a female dog that had just given birth rescued a newborn baby that had been abandoned by its teenage mother, and the child was found alive and well along with the dog’s litter.

In Kenya, a dog named Oscar became the caretaker for two young children when they were abandoned by their mother. Although the children live with their grandmother, there are five other children in the household, so Oscar escorts the six and seven year-old girl and boy to school, then makes sure they get home safely. He has become a legend in the neighborhood.

Dogs have also protected children from coyotes, snakes, and other wild animals.

So why are dogs so protective of children? It’s a result of their pack animal nature. A balanced dog knows that the humans are the pack leaders, and its job is to protect them. Just as adult dogs are very tolerant of puppy behavior that would get another adult dog bitten, they seem to understand that children are human “puppies,” and the instinct to protect kicks in.

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