SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ A dog that leaped off a balcony to save three children from a poisonous snake has become Australia's first canine to receive a medal for valor.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded a Purple Cross Bravery medal to Fizo, a fearless 8-year-old silky terrier, at a ceremony Wednesday night.

Hugh Wirth, the society's president, said Fizo plunged off a balcony onto a poisonous, 5-foot long brown snake as it recoiled, ready to attack Fizo's 9-year-old owner and two playmates.

Although the dog was bitten several times, Fizo held the snake in its mouth until the venomous reptile died. The dog collapsed and was taken to a nearby animal clinic to receive a venom antidote.