Honouring Animal Heroes

Everyone knows I am a huge sucker for a mushy animal-saves-human story. There is just something about our pets going above and beyond to save our lives that turns me into a puddle.

Every year Purina honours this bond between humans and animals by inducting heroic pets into the Animal Hall of Fame. Last week, they announced the 2011 winners

K’os is a two year old French Neapolitan Mastiff who saved the life of his fourteen-year-old pal in the middle of the night. Hunter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis only months before K’os charged into the bedroom of his parents, barking frantically. As K’os was never an excitable dog, Hunter’s parents were concerned and followed him into Hunter’s room. There they found their young son in the midst of a grand mal seizure. Thanks to K’os alerting them to the problem, Hunter was brought to the hospital in time. If it hadn’t been for K’os’ quick action, the teenager probably wouldn’t be alive today.

Moose is a whippet adopted by a young family for his intelligent nature. One morning, his human mother, Jolene, left him outside with her three-year-old daughter while she ran in the house to load the dishwasher. Luckily, she had made sure to leave the door open between the house and the yard as after a few minutes Moose ran into the house, looking alarmed, and then ran back out again. At first Jolene brushed off his behaviour as simple canine antics but after he had run in and out again several more times, she decided to see what had him so excited. Once in the yard, Moose became even more agitated, jumping and barking crazily. That’s when Jolene found her daughter with her neck caught in the yard’s wire gate. By this time the toddler was barely conscious. A quick call to 911 and a hospital trip later, the girl survived with only minor bruises. All thanks to smart little Moose.

Scooter and Missy are an Australian cattle dog and border collie, respectively. The two dogs usually spend their days utilizing their herding skills on the Mosher family ranch. One trying afternoon, ranch owner Glenda, was moving a cow and two calves when all of a sudden the cow turned on her and attacked. The cow knocked Glenda to the ground with her weight and rolled her body over and over again. Before the situation turned fatal, Scooter and Missy jumped in to help. The dogs lunged at the cow, barking and nipping. The normally docile dogs distracted the cow until the bovine finally moved away from Glenda and back through the gate. Glenda’s family was then able to jump in to give her the medical attention she required. While she doesn’t remember much of the event, Glenda attributes her dogs’ brave actions with saving her life.

Stinky is a ten-year old Rottweiler who works tirelessly with the Manitoba Search and Rescue’s Elite Psychiatric Therapy Dog Program. A large part of this program is helping Canadian soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychiatric service dogs like Stinky help soldiers cope with this frightening problem by offering emotional support and affection. Stinky is currently the lead dog of this program and often helps train new service dogs. He also belongs to a “Loaner Dog” support service, wherein if a service dog is not yet available for a soldier in need, the program will loan the soldier an experienced dog until a permanent companion can be found. Many soldiers have since come forward in praise of Stinky. He has changed so many lives through his unwavering encouragement. Stinky saves lives every single day by helping soldiers realize life is worth living once again.

Please say I am not the only one crying.

I think programs like the Purina Animal Hall of Fame are fantastic for helping recognise the benefits animals bring to human lives. Since 1992, 125 dogs, 25 cats, and one horse, have been honoured with the award.

 It’s possible to argue that the heroic acts performed by these animals are nothing more than instinct. Was K’os necessarily barking to save Hunter’s life or was he just overly stressed as a result of his human friend’s strange behaviour?

Personally, I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I think if K’os was acting on instinct alone, it makes his deed even more special. It makes me think of how much they are capable. How much we rely on them. In a world where animals are so often tossed aside, I don’t think we can thank them enough for all they do for us. Dogs like K’os and Stinky may not need any accolades but I hope that the more awards like these are advertised, the less we humans may take our beloved animals for granted.

17 thoughts on “Honouring Animal Heroes

  1. Dogs (and all animals really) can do such amazing things sometimes, it’s incredible.

    On a lighter note though, I have to admit, I LOL’d a little at Stinky’s name. It’s such a funny name for a therapy dog 🙂


  2. Thanks for posting, I wasn’t aware of Purina’s award program. It is amazing what animals do for us and yet so many people abuse them and toss them aside.


    • I think this one is a Canadian program so it may not have been announced in the US. There may be a similar one down there, however, I’m not sure. I looked briefly and couldn’t find anything via google. Please let me know if you hear of it in the US!


    • They are touching. I just think it’s nice there is an organisation dedicated to praising animals who do impressive things.

      I’m really curious now if Purina only does this in Canada. I am going to have to do more research.


  3. Awards don’t mean much to dogs unless there is food involved, but it is important for people to recognize their wonderful deeds.


    • I agree. I know that the individual dogs probably don’t care – other than the extra attention it means nothing to them – but it’s nice that people care enough to not only nominate an animal but to honour them in such a public way.


  4. There are a few guide dogs in the city that help their owners get to work, and to lunch, and to go shopping. It always makes me smile to see them helping their owners get around and have a life.


  5. We’re so blessed to have our dogs in our lives! These heroic dogs definitely deserve the honor of being inducted into the hall of fame – and I suspect most of our pooches would behave in much the same way in similar circumstances.


  6. Frankie and Beryl are my heroes as they keep me sane:) Well, I think I’m sane? Could be debatable:) But it’s wonderful for dogs who do extra special things to be recognised for their achievements.


  7. No, you’re not the only one crying. All those stories are very moving, and I’m glad you picked a whippet one amongst your examples. I’ve heard of similar stories, I think they’re testimony of the special bond between us, humans, and our pets.
    You’ve got to love names like Moose or Stinky! 🙂


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