When Laura Martinez and her family first found Zero on the side of a Texas road, he was an abandoned Great Pyrenees puppy with a broken ankle and no chance to live, according to the vet. But Martinez and her children were determined to nurture and help the suffering puppy—they were convinced that there was something special about him. And today, Martinez says that he is the reason she's still alive, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
"We were meant to find him," she said. "And what he did was what he was meant to do. That's the only thought making it any better." As the new member of the Martinez family was slowly brought back to life, he was given the nickname "Zero the hero."
The Martinez family saved Zero's life. And on March 10 of this year, he sacrificed himself to return the favor.
On that day, Martinez's daughter had her 12th birthday party. The house was filled with kids from 5 to 15, and Zero lounged at the mother's side as she grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. But then, longtime family friend and 17-year-old Javian Castaneda pulled into the driveway. The previous day, Martinez had confronted him because she suspected him of breaking into her house and stealing cash and jewelry. The family and the young man got into an argument on the driveway, according to police, and he began hitting Martinez after she asked him to leave.
Casstenada pulled out a gun and shot nine times total by Martinez's count. After the first, which hit the garage door, Zero ran at Castaneda, who shot him in the chest. Martinez's son was shot in the foot and her stepdaughter twice in the back. Zero kept fighting and bit Castenada's arm, taking shots to the ear and stomach before Castenada fled.