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B.C. dog honoured for protecting teen following car crash

WATCH: A heroic B.C. dog was honoured today for bravery. Linda Aylesworth has the story.

VANCOUVER – On June 10, 2014, 16-year-old Joseph Phillips-Garcia set out on a trip out of Kanaka Bar, B.C., 15 kilometres south of Lytton, with his aunt, cousin, friend and family dog, Sako.

On their way home, the vehicle lost control and rolled down a steep embankment or more than 100 metres, coming to rest in the woods. During the fall, Joseph and Sako were thrown from the vehicle and were the only survivors of the crash.

“I could feel the truck going over,” said Joseph. “I didn’t really know what was going on. It went black after that.”

READ MORE: Crash near Lytton claims three lives

Joseph broke his femur and collar bone and was unable to walk and find help. He remembers reaching down to pinch his leg and realizing he was pinching the bone. Joseph remained in the woods, in and out of consciousness, for two days. Sako stayed by his side the whole time, helping to keep him warm and safe from predatory animals that were circling the crash site.

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“That area is subject to a number of predatory animals, including large cats, bears, coyotes,” said Cst. Kris Clark with the Lake Country RCMP. “Someone that sustained serious injuries and was not mobile would not have had the ability to protect themselves.”

Joseph said they could hear howling animals and he could hear Sako fighting with them. “He came back, looked like he had a bite mark on his neck, that was it,” said Joseph.

On June 12, 2014, Joseph’s cousin found him and Sako and called RCMP and Search and Rescue crews.

Joseph was rushed to a local hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries and months of recuperation from his injuries.

Due to his loyalty, Sako, a four-year-old King Shepherd, was recognized as one of this year’s Purina Animal Hall of Fame inductees.

“I don’t understand my part of surviving,” said Joseph. “But a big part of it was Sako.”

WATCH: Joseph and Sako’s story:

Sako is now one of the newest members of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame. Purina