On November 20, as she was driving back from dropping off children at home, police say the driver spotted a girl being attacked by a dog. Denise Dalcoe was on Quail Run Drive in Missouri City, authorities say, when she stopped the bus, radioed for help, grabbed a large bucket and ran to help the girl.
Dalcoe says the child's grandmother was yelling, "Please, please help me! Call the police!"
Without hesitating, she honked her horn and called a dispatcher for help.
"He already had her by her clothing, was just yapping and yapping as he was snapping at her and holding on to her," Dalcoe said.
That little girl is nine-year-old Rebecca Hernandez.
"I grabbed him from the mouth and tried to like open up his mouth," Rebecca recalled.
It wasn't working, and the dog was wounding her young legs. Dalcoe knew she had to act fast. She grabbed her trash bucket and jumped out.
She said, "I was just swinging real aggressively with this bucket, being aggressive and yelling at the same time."
Dalcoe is not sure if she hit the dog, but it ran. The nine-year-old and veteran bus driver had never met before that day and haven't seen each other since.
Rebecca said, "I would like to say thank you, Denise, for helping me on that day.
Dalcoe, a mother of five and grandmother to seven, does not consider herself a hero. She says maternal instincts took over.
"I believe in doing for other people's children what I want them to do for my children or my grandchildren."
The dog was found shortly after the attack at a nearby vacant home. Police say animal control took it into custody. It's not clear whether it has been put down. Rebecca has fully recovered.
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