CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte family has a dog to thank for saving their son's life.
Mason Neff, a Marine on patrol in Afghanistan narrowly missed stepping on a landmine. It was a dog who kept him out of danger.
Carly, a 15-year-old black lab, sits at the family's feet as we talk. She was the first black lab that Mason fell in love with.
He was the basic caretaker, she gravitated towards him, she was his dog from the time he was 7-years-old, said mom Jan Pixton.
Bingo was the second.
Seeing the pictures of him with that dog, you could see he loves he loved that dog, Pixton says.
Mason trained Bingo for months in the United States before both headed to Afghanistan earlier this year.
Bingo became a bomb-sniffing dog, together Mason and Bingo worked to find landmines.
I knew when he trained with Bingo that Bingo would protect him - I knew that, Pixton says.
Pixton was right, Bingo did.
The dog simply saved my brother s life, said 18-year-old younger brother Ryan Neff.
Mason was patrolling a hotspot and the dog had some reaction and apparently the dog acted like he wasn't sure what to do because there were several IED s in the area, Pixton explains. When Mason went to go towards the dog, the dog flipped out more or less and because he didn't want Mason to come near and that sent up one of them and... it saved him... Bingo didn't make it.
Mason s brother Ryan has mixed emotions.
I think it s amazing, on one hand it s really sad we had to lose that dog, on the other hand, my brother is alive and we have the dog to thank, he explains.
Shrapnel hit the 21-year-old Marine in the face, broke his jaw, and damaged his eye and neck.
He is on a ventilator, but tests show no damage to his brain or spine. Mason Neff should be ok.
A lot of people may think it s crazy but that dog is a hero in my eyes, he saved my son. He saved my son, Pixton says.
Bingo really was man's best friend, a life-saver for a Marine risking his own life.
Neff is being treated in Germany but will move to a Maryland hospital later this week.