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LAKE WAUKOMIS, Mo. — A Lake Waukomis family is giving props to their four-legged hero for saving their 13-year-old from a would-be attacker who they found in their backyard.

The scary situation happening during the dog’s evening walk Wednesday.

“I heard a growl and a bark come out of McKenzie that I have never heard her do,” said Sadie Peterson, the teen’s mom and McKenzie’s owner.

The 4-year-old pitbull rescue is described as being happy go-lucky, full of energy and a lover of affection.

But Wednesday night, the Peterson family saw a side the of the rescue pup they’d never seen.

“She obviously sensed her person was in danger because she is Maggie’s dog,” Peterson said.

The metro mom said her 13-year-old daughter was approached by a man who came from the wooded area in their backyard. The man was reportedly mumbling incoherent sentences and sounds.

Their dog’s growls are what alerted Peterson that something was seriously wrong.

“She was in full attack mode, as I saw when I came around the corner, and it didn’t phase him at all,” Peterson said.

The dog stood guard between the trespasser and Maggie while Peterson helped her daughter inside and called 911.

“We never taught them to be guard dogs. She just followed her instincts, and it payed off,” Peterson said.

While most rescue dogs are grateful to find a home, this blue pit saved her family from what could have been a horrifying situation.

“We are grateful for her, so she got a little scratches behind the ear and she got a little extra time on the couch with Mom and Dad because Mom and Dad were very, very grateful she did her job!” Peterson said.

The suspect was found a few blocks away from the home when police arrived. He was arrested, but not charged in connection with this case, according to an officer with the Lake Waukomis Police Department.

Police said the man, who is not being identified right now, was believed to be under the influence of drugs and had outstanding warrants.