Four valiant dogs inducted into the 47th Annual Purina Animal Hall of Fame
TORONTO, May 4, 2015 /CNW/ - If you have ever doubted an animal's ability to sense urgency and provide live-saving protection, the 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame will make you a believer. This morning, Purina honoured tremendous acts of animal heroism and devotion at the 47th Annual Purina Animal Hall of Fame, hosted at Purina PawsWay, its permanent home. This year's inductees, comprised of three loyal canine pets and one service dog, were recognized for the extraordinary actions they took to protect a human life – demonstrating that animals can be counted on to come to the rescue in dangerous and life-threatening situations when people are not available to help.
"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."
Since its inception in 1968, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame has honoured pets and service animals 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. The 2015 Inductees have joined these ranks. Through their keen intuition and sense of duty, they have shown they understand and are compelled to protect us when we need them the most.
"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 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame Inductees:
Badger (Elgin, ON) – It was a frigid February afternoon with temperatures dipping below -20º Celsius when Derik Hodgson left his cabin with his dog 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 – essentially crippling 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 pulled Derik off the frozen lake and all the way back to his cabin – about a 400 metre distance. Once at the cabin door, Derik was able to eventually get inside, reach for his phone and call for help. By the time the ambulance arrived, paramedics reported that Derik was already on the verge of being severely hypothermic. If not for Badger's quick thinking and determination, Derik is certain he wouldn't be alive and here today.
Bella (Windsor, ON) – On a quiet Sunday afternoon in November 2014, Rob Sheardown entered his apartment building after his daily walk with his dog 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.
Sako (Kanaka Bar, BC) – 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, Joseph and Sako were thrown from the vehicle. Tragically, they were the only survivors. Joseph suffered a broken femur and collar bone which left him severely injured and immobilized. 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 would not have survived that ordeal.
Nettle (Cambridge, ON) – Nettle, one of Canada's first diabetic alert dogs, joined the Bordman family in late 2013 to help care for their 12-year-old twin daughters Brooke and Jade who suffer from a life-threatening condition – Type 1 Diabetes. Before Nettle joined the household, and 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. But this would all change once the family met Nettle at the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. 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 them as it occurred between their regular nighttime checks. This would be only the first of many life-saving alerts. From that point onward, Nettle has not only come to the rescue of the twins time and time again, but also provides Terry and Beata peace of mind that their daughters are safe. Nettle's unique story is one that has served to inspire and pave the way for new diabetic alert dogs in Canada. She is considered a trailblazer in this service animal category, especially because she is responsible for protecting the lives of not just one, but two young girls.
A new category for the Purina Animal Hall of Fame:
Life-saving stories like the ones shared through the Purina Animal Hall of Fame showcase the strong bond that exists between people and pets, and also the invaluable role that animals play in our lives: not only can they save our lives, but they also enhance our lives on a daily basis. This coming year, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame will be expanding to include a new category called the 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 their personal stories highlighting how their pet has had an enormous impact on their life or the life of someone they know, and why they should be recognized as the Purina Animal Hall of Fame's Better Together Award recipient. This fall, Canadians will be invited to vote for their favourite story, and the selected animal will be honoured at the 2016 Purina Animal Hall of Fame.
For more information about the Purina Animal Hall of Fame and Better Together Award please visit www.purinahalloffame.ca. To watch videos of this year's inductee stories, visit www.youtube.com/PurinaCanada.
Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada is a leading pet care company and global manufacturer of quality pet brands, including: Pro Plan, Purina ONE, Friskies, and Tidy Cat. Nestlé Purina promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement, and the positive bond between people and their pets. Our promise, "Your Pet, Our Passion", and the creation of Purina PawsWay, the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, reflect our commitment to pets.
For information about Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada visit www.purina.ca.
Tribute videos for each inductee can be downloaded here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oue0as5bciimugd/AAANnaOJeYvgNEXlUNDBy_jxa?dl=0
B-roll can be downloaded here:
Broadcast Quality: https://environicspr.sharefile.com/d-s522384df08b4c3ba
Web quality: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hd5bkq8kz761upi/AABlFgykGQfi5dRcs9HNma9ma?dl=0
SOURCE Purina Animal Hall of Fame
Image with caption: "Derik Hodgson's heroic dog, Badger, was inducted today into the 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150504_C4881_PHOTO_EN_16137.jpg
Image with caption: "Rob Sheardown’s heroic dog, Bella, was inducted today into the 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150504_C4881_PHOTO_EN_16138.jpg
Image with caption: "Sako, a heroic dog from Kananka Bar, BC, was inducted today into the 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150504_C4881_PHOTO_EN_16139.jpg
Image with caption: "Jade and Brooke Bordman’s diabetic alert dog, Nettle, was inducted today into the 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame as Service Dog of the Year. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150504_C4881_PHOTO_EN_16140.jpg
Image with caption: "Nettle, a two-year-old Yellow Labrador and one of Canada's first diabetic alert dogs was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame today as Service Dog of the Year. Nettle is considered a trailblazer in this Service Dog category as she is responsible for protecting the lives of two twin girls, Jade and Brooke Bordman. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150504_C4881_PHOTO_EN_16184.jpg
For further information: To request an interview, learn more about the 2015 Inductees and to obtain photography please contact: Lorna Freeman / Leanna Rizzi, Environics Communications, 416-969-2711 / 416-969-2824, [email protected] / [email protected]