(CNN) – A Florida family is mourning the loss of their puppy, Zeus who died protecting two of their four kids from a venomous snake.

The mother, Gina Richardson, says her 10-year-old son was playing in the backyard when the 9-month old pit bull jumped toward him, and attacked a coral snake, doing his best to keep it away from the boy.

His 11-year-old brother then walked into the backyard.

That’s when Zeus laid down on the snake to smother it and prevent it from harming the boys.

The snake bit Zeus four times before the dog bit its head off.

The family rushed Zeus to a nearby animal hospital, where staff immediately gave him anti-venom medication, but he died the next day.

Richardson says she feels “forever grateful” to Zeus and considers him a hero, saying that if he had not been there, she may have lost one of her kids.