DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Three Dallas sanitation workers have been hailed as heroes by the city for something that goes far beyond collecting trash.

An eight-year-old boy owes his life to them after the men interrupted a vicious dog attack during a walk home from school on Wednesday.

Shannon Craig has bites cut and bruises that cover his young body.  But the eight-year-old is old enough to realize how lucky he is.

The three sanitation workers, Larry Jones, Steve Thurman and Douglas Rochelle, were near the end of their shift on Wednesday afternoon when they noticed something unusual in this Oak Cliff neighborhood.

“I told my driver Steve ‘I see some dogs, like they’re tearing up some trash bags.'” said Jones.  They soon realized two pit bulls were attacking a child.  “The closer we got the more determined we was to get there.”

Shannon admits he was taunting the dogs behind a fence but unaware they could get out. “They started biting me and dragging me down the street.”

The three men say the boy appeared to be limp and had no fight left in him when the dogs dragged him down this alley and almost out of their sight.  The men tried to fight the pit bulls and used a pitchfork to free the boy.  “We knew that the dogs were vicious but we had to do something to get the dogs off the boy,” said Thurman.

The men eventually drove off the dogs which were later impounded and carried the injured boy into their truck.  “If we hadn’t gotten there when we did we feel like those dogs were going to drag that little boy into the alley and eat him,” said Rochelle.

Shannon’s grandmother, Lorecie Craig, says the men were there at that time for a reason.  “Seems like it was destiny kind of that they were there and no one else was there and I’m really appreciative of them saving my grandson’s life.”

Shannon is recovering at home while waiting for rabies testing on the dogs.

City officials say the sanitation crew will be honored for their actions.  But the three men say their reward is hearing ‘thank you for saving me’ from one grateful child.