Hercules was adopted by a couple in Hillsboro, Ohio, who saw the ailing 135-pound St. Bernard at the animal shelter and feared he would be euthanized.
Six hours later, the heroic canine repaid his new owners’ kindness when a dark-clothed thug broke into the couple’s house.
The man had cut the phone and cable lines running to the home of Rubert and Elizabeth Littler and had sneaked into their basement.
Mr Littler was taking Hercules outside for a walk when he began to growl, sensing the intruder that his master did not know was there.
Suddenly, Hercules pulled away from Mr Littler and broke through the closed screen door.
‘The guy must have just come up out of the basement when he heard me open the door. Hercules jumped off the back porch, over the stairwell, and I see this guy running toward the fence,’ he told the Times-Gazette in Hillsboro.
As the intruder ran, Hercules was close on his heels.
The burglar climbed over the fence and Hercules chomped down on one of the man’s ankles.
The thug managed to break himself free and fled.
Police suspect the man could be a serial burglar. A person matching his description broke into an occupied home the night before.
And the night after his encounter with Hercules, police believe the man might have stuck a third time.
Hercules took a difficult journey to the Littlers’ home. Two people hiking in the woods found him laying in the middle of a trail. He was so weak and mangy that they men thought he was a fallen log.
How he got into the woods is unclear, but he had been attacked by coyotes and was badly malnourished and dehydrated.
The hikers collected the dog and brought him back to to Hillsboro, where they nursed him back to health before taking him to the local animal shelter.
That is where the Littlers met him.
‘Originally, we adopted him because we didn’t want him to be euthanized. We thought we’d get him back up and going and see if we couldn’t get him a new home or some rescue group to take him,’ Mr Littler said. ‘But now we don’t know what we’re going to do. I think he’s more or less earned his right to stay.’