Teenager Gabriela Ramos was honored by officials of the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector for saving a 7-year-old boy from an attack by two savage dogs.
Ramos, a 10th grade student in Deming, New Mexico, told Efe that on Oct. 5, 2011, while driving to school she heard some desperate screaming that seemed to be from a little boy.
"I could even hear it over the music I was listening to, and then I saw some dogs attacking this kid," she said.
Without hesitating she looked for something in the car she could use to scare the dogs away, but finding nothing she ran with the keys in her hand to where a Rottweiler and a Doberman were on top of the boy biting his head and arms.
"I started yelling at the dogs and smacking them with the keys," she said - and the surprised dogs looked up and stopped attacking little Eddie Chavez, whom she told to get in her car where it was safe.
"The dogs kept staring at me and I walked to the car, but I never turned my back on them," she said, but before she could open the door on the passenger side, the two dogs ran up and cornered her.
"They bit my leg," she said. Fortunately another car came down the street just then and the dogs ran after it.
"No, I didn't think about the danger, I only thought about getting the dogs off the kid because I was sure that if I didn't, they were going to kill him," Gabriela said after the honor ceremony.
The communications director of the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector, Douglas Mosier, said that Ramos is supervisor of the Border Patrol Explorer Program in Deming.
During the ceremony, the teenager was honored by the director of the El Paso Sector, Scott A. Luck, who gave her a letter saying that "Gabriela showed a unique quality of leadership, based on compassion and the sacrifice of her own safety to save the life of another human being."
Federal agents said that the teen's act of courage exemplifies how integrity and service to one's country are fundamental values with which the Border Patrol invests the Explorer Program.
Mosier said that after being bitten by the dogs Gabriela managed to get back in her car and drove to Eddie's home. His family then took them both to the hospital where they were treated and vaccinated.
The two dogs, which jumped over a fence to attack the boy, are in quarantine.
"I want to thank Gaby because she saved me from those dogs," Eddie, whose body is scarred by bites to his head, back and arms, told the media.
"I was really scared," he said, while Gabriel assured him "I'd do it again without thinking about it."