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A year’s worth of dog food, a medal of honor and $5,000 is what each dog gets when inducted in Purina’s Animal Hall of Fame. So far there are three dogs in 2017 that have received this honor and are a proof of heroics.
Leo, a Biewer Yorkshire terrier, from Ottawa, Ontario, was four months old when his new owner, Brittany Cosgrove, 26, adopted him. Only a few days after arriving at his new home, Leo proved himself to be a hero.
In December 2016, Cosgrove was sleeping deeply (suffering from insomnia, Cosgrove often didn’t sleep well – but when she did, it was quite difficult to wake her). She woke at 2 AM to Leo insistently barking, she knew he must have been trying to get her attention for a while. Usually quiet, it was out of character for Leo to be this forceful. Cosgrove got up to looked around. When she peeked into her bathroom she saw flames dripping from the walls and ceiling.
Frightened by the fact that this fire had not set off any alarms, Cosgrove frantically reached for her phone to call the fire department. The fire started to spread even more – becoming increasingly uncontrollable.
As the blaze grew, Cosgrove grabbed Leo, and ran from her apartment. Shortly after, the fire had taken over the whole apartment complex, forcing 30 other residents from their homes and severely damaging the entire building. Since no smoke detectors went off that night, the other residents wouldn’t have known to evacuate if Brittany hadn’t called the fire department in time. Thankfully everyone escaped unharmed – and it was Leo’s persistent barking and perseverance to wake Cosgrove that began this crucial chain of events.
Skylar, a three-year-old, golden retriever from Port Hope, Ontario, is a sweet and caring companion to his owner Grace Goheen, 74.
While walking in the wooded valley during Winter, Goheen slipped and broke her hip. She had no cell phone and was too far from home to crawl back.
It started getting dark and having previously heard the howls of bears and coyotes in the area, Goheen was terrified of the dangerous wildlife that roamed there at night. Worried about bears, coyotes and the cold weather, she decided to unleash Skylar, hoping he could run home, but the dog refused to leave her side.
As the rain started to fall Goheen was distraught and emotional as she lay there shivering. Then she saw the familiar sight of her neighbor’s truck, and told Skylar “Go find Mike!” The dog picked up one of his owner’s mitts then ran toward the truck. The neighbor stopped, followed the dog and found Skylar’s owner, who was then taken to hospital for treatment.
Becky Jo, a five-year-old shepherd-collie mix from Edmonton, was honored after her owner, Tracy Matkea, fell from a horse at the family ranch in Arizona. The horse spooked and threw Becky Jo’s owner, knocking her unconscious instantly. The dog and horse both returned home without Matkea, and Becky Jo started circling the driveway and barking at Matkea’s husband. He hopped on an ATV and followed Becky Jo almost five miles, to where Matkea lay bleeding.
Matkea was rushed to local hospital then airlifted to Phoenix, where she received life-saving treatment.
Leo, Skylar and Becky Jo were chosen out of a record number of nominations, Purina Animal Hall of Fame ambassador Melissa Eckersley said. They are a proof of heroics.
“What made these pets stand out from the other nominees was the intelligence and intuition each of them exhibited in times of peril, in order to save a human life.”