Prepare to be Inspired
Four new dogs were inducted into the 47th Annual Purina Animal Hall of Fame.
Since its inception in 1968, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame has honoured pets and service animals in Canada for their remarkable feats of bravery, from alerting humans to life-threatening medical emergencies, to saving them from extreme conditions. In the last 47 years, 168 animals have been inducted, including 140 dogs, 27 cats – and even a horse.
It was a day full of tears and smiles as the stories of amazing acts of love were shared. It was a day celebrating the human-animal bond. All four inductees proved that animals can be counted on to come to the rescue in life-threatening situations.
“Every year we are amazed by the various ways in which heroic animals save human lives,” said Dean McNeill, Manager, PR & Corporate Communications, Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada. “This year’s inductees have an incredible sense of awareness; in unique ways, they each kept human lives safe when people weren’t immediately available, rescuing their owners, loved ones and in one case, a complete stranger.”
The event was hosted by talented dog lovers Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath who awarded themselves the “biggest crybaby award” and used up a full package of tissues. We were right up there with them. They did an awesome job.
The Keynote Speaker was Dr Jackie Ellis, Animal Behaviour Scientist for Nestle Purina PetCare.
The Presenters were fascinating Dr Clayton Greenway, Veterinarian and Host Newstalk1010, the charming Blake Carter rescue advocate and radio host Kiss 92.5FM, Jeff Hutcheson Anchor Canada AM and lovely Jenny Gladish Communications Manager with our friends at Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. We are looking forward to further conversations with Clayton, Blake and Jenny. See our video of Dogs Changing Lives from our documentary segment on Service Dogs.
(Photo Gallery Below)
Badger, an 11-year-old Lab-Rottweiler mix, was abandoned in the woods as a puppy and rescued by his now forever-grateful owner, Derik Hodgson, over 10 years ago. Living alone in a remote cabin in Elgin, Ontario, Derik quickly grew to rely on Badger as a trusted companion, and faithful best friend.
It was a frigid February afternoon with temperatures dipping below -20º Celsius when Derik Hodgson left his cabin with Badger. He had rushed out without his cell phone and winter jacket to photograph eagles flying above a nearby lake. The lake was frozen at this time of year and Derik quickly walked onto the ice. In his haste, Derik slipped and fell down with extreme force, breaking his leg in two places and rupturing a tendon. The fall essentially crippled him on the ice with no one in sight. Fading in and out of consciousness due to the severe pain and freezing temperatures,
Derik looked up to see Badger standing right over him. Recalling the pair’s old skijoring days, Derik grabbed onto Badger’s collar firmly and yelled “MUSH, BADGER, MUSH!” Badger recognized that Derik needed his help and, in spite of his age, pulled Derik off the frozen lake and all the way back to his cabin – about a 400 metre distance up hill. By the time the ambulance arrived, paramedics reported that Derik was already on the verge of being severely hypothermic.
“Just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it off of that frozen lake alive, Badger did whatever it took to rescue and bring me to safety,” said Derik Hodgson, Badger’s owner. “Badger saved my life and I’m so grateful to Purina for honouring him in this way and telling our story.”
The rescue dog became the rescuer in this inspiring example of the human- animal bond. Had it not been for Badger’s unwavering determination and devotion that day, Derik believes he definitely would not have made it. Derik is eternally thankful that his best friend was there for him when he needed him most – ultimately saving his life.
On July 10, 2014, Rob Sheardown adopted an Anatolian Shepherd from the Windsor/Essex Humane Society. Her name was Bella and they quickly became very close.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon in November 2014, Rob Sheardown entered his apartment building after his daily walk with Bella. The duo prepared to enter the ground floor elevator together as they typically did, but something strange happened on this day. Bella, who is normally extremely obedient, refused to get into the elevator. Ignoring Rob’s commands, Bella instead pulled him back into the apartment lobby.
Confused by Bella’s odd behaviour, Rob followed her behind one of the lobby couches and, to his shock, discovered an elderly man lying on the ground.
He was pale, sweating profusely and complaining of severe chest pains – he was having a heart attack. Rob immediately called an ambulance, and as they waited for it to arrive, Bella sat beside the man with her paw on his arm. Bella did not leave his side until paramedics arrived. Rob, being hard of hearing in one ear, and knowing how empty his lobby typically is on Sundays, is convinced no one – not even himself – would have discovered the man in time had it not been for Bella’s keen intuition that someone was in desperate need of help.
Thanks to Bella’s keen intuition, persistence, and determination, the elderly man received the medical attention he needed just in time. To this day, Rob continues to be amazed at Bella and how she was able to come to the aid of a complete stranger. When Rob looks at Bella now, he no longer sees a dog who was rescued, but a dog who is a rescuer.
Sako is an energetic four-year-old King Shepherd who grew up in northern BC surrounded by friends and family members. She developed a very strong, protective instinct.
It was a sunny day on June 10, 2014 when 16-year-old Joseph Phillips-Garcia set out on a road trip out of town with his aunt, cousin, friend and family dog Sako. Later that evening, on the group’s journey home, their vehicle suddenly lost control, rolling down a steep embankment of more than 100 metres into the woods.
During the devastating fall, 16-year-old Joseph Phillips-Garcia and Sako were thrown from the vehicle and tragically, they were the only survivors. Joseph suffered a broken femur and collar bone which left him severely injured and unable to move.
He remained in the woods – in and out of consciousness, cold, in pain and without food – for two days. Sako protectively stayed by Joseph’s side to help keep him warm and safe from predatory animals that were circling the crash site and posing an imminent threat to Joseph. More than 40 hours later, on June 12, 2014, Joseph was finally located by his cousin who was out searching for him. Search and rescue crews were immediately called to the scene. Joseph was rushed to a local hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries and months of recuperation from his injuries. Without Sako’s devotion and protective instincts, he might not have survived that ordeal. It was also Sako’s devotion and unyielding companionship that gave him the hope and the courage to hold on until he was found.
Listening to Joseph’s beautiful mother, we saw the relief and gratitude in her eyes and it was very hard not to cry. She and Joseph would not have been there without Sako (Sako did not make the trip as it would have been too stressful.).
Nettle, an intelligent, two-year-old Yellow Labrador helps care for 12-year-old twin girls Brooke and Jade, who suffer from two life-threatening conditions: Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac disease.
Nettle is one of the first diabetic alert dogs to graduate from the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. She is responsible for the life of not just one, but two young girls, as part of a new diabetic alert dog program. Her unique story is one that has served to inspire and pave the way for new diabetic alert dogs in Canada – she is a true trailblazer in this service animal category.
Ever since Brooke and Jade were diagnosed at age three, Terry and Beata worked tirelessly to track their daughters’ blood sugar levels day and night, making sure they didn’t drop too low or rise too high. Within the first few days of joining their home, Nettle immediately went to work, alerting Terry and Beata that Jade was suffering a serious diabetic low in the middle of the night. Alarmingly, this severe low would have otherwise gone unnoticed by Jade’s parents as it was between their regular nighttime checks. She might not have made it until morning.
This would be only the first of many life-saving alerts. Nettle has come to the rescue of the twins time and time again – constantly watching over their lives, and giving the family piece of mind.
Share Your Story.
Has a dog ever done anything truly amazing f0r you? You can e-mail me Susan at talenthounds.ca.
New Award for 2016
Purina also announced the launch of a new “Better Together Award” which will recognize one special pet that makes an extraordinary difference in the life of his or her owner.
“At the 2016 ceremony, we will welcome a new class of heroes into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame with the Better Together Award,” said McNeill. “At Purina, we feel it is extremely important to not only share stories of life-saving heroism, but also pay tribute to all animals who make a strong impact on those around them every day.”
Beginning May 11, pet lovers can submit personal stories of how their pet have had an enormous impact on their life or the life of someone they know, and why they should be recognized. This fall, Canadians will be invited to vote for their favourite story, and the selected animal will be honoured at next years 2016 Purina Animal Hall of Fame.
For more information about the Purina Animal Hall of Fame please visit www.purinahalloffame.ca
Happy Wordless Wednesday. I can’t wait to celebrate dogs and the bond that we have with them at BlogPaws 2015 in Nashville in three weeks. I am also looking forward to meeting many of the people and dogs on this Wednesday Hop.