Canadian Four-Legged Heroes Celebrated for Going Beyond the Call of Duty
Loyalty, bravery, unconditional love, devotion and intuition - these are just a few of the ways to describe the 2011 Purina Animal Hall of Fame Inductees - K'os, Moose, Scooter and Missy, and Stinky. Honoured this morning at PawsWay in Toronto, the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, each of these four-legged heroes exemplifies the powerful bond that exists between animals and humans.
"Each year, we pay tribute to the heroic acts of pets and service animals across the country, and continue to be inspired and awe-struck with each submission we receive," said Mary Siemiesz, Executive Director of the Purina PetCare Legacy. "The Purina Animal Hall of Fame is at the heart of who we are as a company and we are incredibly honoured to celebrate these extraordinary heroes that go above and beyond what is expected of them to help save lives."
As one of the longest running pet recognition programs in Canada, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame has recognized the life-saving feats of pets and service animals for more than four decades. Since its inception in 1968, over 150 animals have been inducted - 125 dogs, 25 cats and one horse. Canadians across the country can visit www.purinahalloffame.ca to read past honoured stories, and learn how to nominate a heroic pet or service dog.
The 2011 honourees were carefully selected from hundreds of nominations based on their intelligence, loyalty and compassion. These pets have saved the lives of their owners, family members, and have provided unconditional support during difficult times. "This year's Inductees prove that there are many different qualities that make up a hero," said Siemiesz. "They remind us of the important roles that pets play in our lives, and how much we value their companionship." "Without K'os' quick thinking, our son Hunter would not be here today," said Linda Guindon, owner of the two-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff from Peterborough, Ontario, and 2011 Inductee. "He is truly our family hero, and we're so thrilled that K'os is being recognized for his heroic efforts by the Purina Animal Hall of Fame."
The 2011 Purina Animal Hall of Fame Inductees
Scooter & Missy (Cherhill, AB)
Scooter, a 12-year-old Australian Cattle Dog and Missy, a six-year-old Border Collie, saved Glenda Mosher from a potentially fatal cow attack. When Glenda, her husband Gary and grandson Travis were trying to herd a cow and two calves back through a gate, the cow suddenly turned and charged at Glenda. The cow was relentless in her attack, but before it turned fatal, Scooter and Missy courageously intervened. In an effort to rescue Glenda, Scooter jumped at the cow and nipped her on the nose, and Missy, the more docile of the two dogs, bit the cow's hind leg. The dogs continued to run and bark until they chased the cow away. Glenda was bloody, broken and bruised - but miraculously, still alive. Gary quickly sent Travis to alert his mother Anna and call for help. Gary, along with Missy and Scooter, stayed by Glenda's side until she was transported to the nearest hospital over 30 minutes away. Glenda spent a month recovering from her injuries, which included broken ribs, a broken jaw and teeth, a fractured skull, and a dislocated hip. There is no doubt in any of the Mosher's minds that, had it not been for Scooter and Missy, Glenda would have never survived the attack. Sadly, Scooter passed away on April 15th, 2011 in the arms of Glenda and Gary at home. Scooter's courageous act was honoured at this year's Purina Animal Hall of Fame ceremony and a permanent tribute for Scooter and all other 2011 Inductees has been created at PawsWay, the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.
Moose (Trenton, ON)
Moose, a lovable two-year-old Whippet, whose quick-thinking alerted Jolene Sararas one afternoon in the nick of time. Jolene was doing some chores in the kitchen with the back door open to watch her three-year-old daughter Alexis, who was playing in the backyard with Moose. Suddenly, Moose ran into the house, looked at Jolene, and then ran back outside again. Jolene thought this behaviour was odd, but brushed it off, thinking Moose didn't mean anything by it. Seconds later, Moose ran into the house again and gave Jolene a strange look before running back outside. Moose then started barking and jumping furiously in the backyard, and this uncharacteristic behaviour definitely got Jolene's attention. She walked out into the backyard to see what had upset Moose, and to her horror, found Alexis with her neck caught in their backyard wire gate. Jolene frantically ran to her daughter and immediately freed her from the gate, and tried to revive Alexis, who wouldn't open her eyes and was barely conscious. In a panic, Jolene called her husband Terry at work, followed by 911. When Terry and the fire department arrived, Alexis had regained consciousness, but was still having trouble breathing. Alexis was taken to the nearest hospital, and luckily she suffered no permanent injuries. Moose is no longer considered an "ordinarily smart" Whippet in the Sararas household. They now call him "Moose the Wonder Dog" the family hero who helped save Alexis' life.
K'os (Peterborough, ON)
K'os, an obedient French Neapolitan Mastiff with a sweet temperament, went from family pet to family hero when his protective instincts helped save Hunter Guindon's life. In August 2009, Linda and Jason Guindon's 14- year-old son, Hunter, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a critical condition that affects the lungs and can cause difficulty breathing. One night, Linda and Jason were awoken by K'os, who ran into their bedroom barking furiously and jumping on their bed. K'os kept running from Linda and Jason's bedroom to Hunter's room. They were immediately concerned by his behavior, as K'os seldom barks and is usually very calm. Jason went downstairs to check the front door while Linda followed K'os into Hunter's room. When she turned on the lights, she discovered K'os on the bed standing over Hunter, who was violently convulsing. Hunter was having a severe seizure. His face appeared grey in colour and he wasn't breathing. His mouth had also filled with fluid which was causing him to choke. Terrified, Linda immediately rushed to Hunter's side and turned him over to help clear his airway, and yelled for Jason to call an ambulance. Hunter was rushed to the hospital, where it was determined he had experienced a grand mal seizure, and was later diagnosed with epilepsy. Although the Guindons know that Hunter's epileptic episodes will continue, they take comfort in knowing that K'os is always by Hunter's side, not only as a beloved family pet, but also as Hunter's true hero and protector.
Service Dog of the Year: Stinky (Winnipeg, MB)
Stinky, a ten-year-old Rottweiler with extraordinary compassion and an unusual name, offers unconditional support and kindness to Canadian soldiers who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Stinky is part of the Manitoba Search and Rescue's (MSAR) Elite Psychiatric Therapy Dog Program, founded by her owner, George Leonard. One of the major components of this program is providing constant emotional therapy via psychiatric dogs to Canadian soldiers suffering from PTSD. Soldiers suffering from this debilitating anxiety disorder feel isolated, angry, and have difficulty coping with the trauma they endured during combat. Elite psychiatric service dogs, like Stinky, help soldiers with this dangerous condition through companionship and unwavering affection. Stinky, the lead dog in this unique program, has provided unconditional love and encouragement to many soldiers diagnosed with severe cases of PTSD and depression. A number of these soldiers have come forward, sharing the life-changing experiences they had with Stinky and her ability to give them hope, even through their darkest hours. According to these soldiers, Stinky helped save their lives in the most important way: by helping them realize life is worth living once again.
For more information about the Purina Animal Hall of Fame please visit www.purinahallfoffame.ca.