Each spring, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame recognizes the extraordinary bravery and heroism of both regular pets and service animals. To date, more than 140 animals have been recognized, 120 of them dogs, for various acts of heroism. The Hall of Fame has existed for more than four decades, and today, the latest inductees were announced.
You may remember the tragic story in December, 2009, of the young boy with Autism from Nova Scotia, who wandered away from home on a mild day and became lost in the blizzard that struck that night. Despite a massive search by volunteers and police, the boy was not found until two days later, when Chance, the family dog who had followed him into the woods, suddenly reappeared and they followed his footsteps to the boy, James. James was still alive but suffering severe hypothermia, and he died later that day. Paramedics credit Chance with staying by his side and keeping him warm, allowing his mother the chance to say goodbye. Though they could not save James, Chance’s heroic actions ensured that James was as warm as he could be, that he wasn’t alone, and that his mother got to bring him home one last time.
Bingo, from Shilo, Manitoba, is also being inducted this year. He is credited with saving the life of his boy, Cole, numerous times. Cole suffers from an undiagnosed illness that causes him to begin retching without warning and then stop breathing. After consulting with numerous doctors and specialists, Cole’s mother decided to work on managing his symptoms instead, and found Bingo, a service dog, who was trained to bark for help when Cole started retching. This meant that his mother had time to get to his side and help him, and that Cole no longer required supervision 24/7. Because of Bingo, Cole has a chance at a normal life, and to this date, Bingo has already saved his life numerous times.
Border Collies are well-known for their intelligence and Patty, the Border Collie mix from Westlock, Alberta, certainly proved it when she saved her owner’s life. In May, 2009, Kai Johnson was farming when a freak accident occurred and he was nearly crushed by his 6000lb air seeder. Patty, seemingly aware that every second counted, managed to quickly alert Kai’s son, Allan, and lead him back to where his father was trapped beneath the machine. Because of Patty’s fast action, Kai was rushed to the hospital in time to save his life.
Though dog lovers can try to deny it all we like, cats can have their shining heroic moments too. Gepetto, from Wetaskawin, Alberta, saved his owner from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in December, 2009. Normally a laid-back, quiet cat, Gepetto woke Phyllis with his wild crying, just in time to save her as her house filled with Carbon Monoxide. The gas is odourless and it’s lucky that Gepetto was there. Suffering an extreme headache as an effect of the gas, Phyllis had nearly slept through the whole incident, which would have proved deadly. Instead, thanks to her cat, she survived and made it to the hospital in time.
There are plenty of animals that deserve to be inducted from this year alone. Do you know of any who you think should be included in the list? Angel, maybe, who saved her young boy from a cougar in British Columbia? Tell us your stories of heroic dogs in the comments here, and don’t forget to nominate the heroic animals you know for next year’s induction ceremony.
Click here to check out Connie's blog with photos of the winners!