France has a new national animal of special concern, and this is the dog that saved a woman from the deadly crash that killed her husband.
The dog, a black labrador named Maelle, was in a convoy of cars when it ran into a car carrying a man on a bike, who was killed in the collision.
Maelie saved the man’s life by using her paws to hold onto his neck, according to a report from France 24, which said the incident took place on Tuesday in the French Riviera city of Bordeaux.
The police later identified Maelles owner as Alexandre Lacasse.
“She has always been a hero to me.
It is not easy to say she is the hero of our life, but she is a symbol of courage,” Lacasse told Le Figaro newspaper.
The man died later on Wednesday, but Lacasse and his wife have already been awarded an “animal of the year” award for their actions.
Lacasse was arrested on Tuesday after the accident, and his son and daughter-in-law were also arrested.
They are currently in police custody, and a hearing has yet to be scheduled.
The incident has drawn international attention, with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, tweeting that the dog “is a hero”.
He added that “this dog is the victim of a terrible crime”.
The French government has also expressed its condolences, calling the incident “an attack on the dignity of the human family”.
The dog is named after Mael le Lacasse, the husband of a former Bordeux minister who died after a car crash in the area.
The family was travelling in a motorbike with Lacasse’s wife and three young children when they collided with a vehicle driven by a man who was travelling on a motorcycle.
“I am very sorry for this tragedy,” Lacose told Le Monde newspaper, adding that his son, who is also a minister, “will do everything possible to get justice for the victims and their families”.
The father of two told Le Parisien newspaper that he had been looking forward to retiring to a quiet life.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to him,” he said.
“My son and his two children will take care of him.”
“They’re not ready to do this job yet,” he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron also thanked the Lacasse family, calling it “a symbol of a human family”, adding that he would personally pay tribute to the dog.
“You did not ask for this, you did not deserve this.
This is what this dog does, to save lives,” he told French television channel BFMTV.
The accident was the third deadly crash in Bordeas recent history.
Last month, a man died after his car ran into the side of another car, and in June 2016, a woman was killed when a truck slammed into her car in the centre of the city.