These Dogs Can Be Heroes Too

by Rebecca on November 9, 2007

in Animals in the News

1. Weela’s (APBT) life didn’t have the best beginning, but the Watkins
family are fortunate to have had her in their lives. The family found Weela
and her littermates abandoned in an alley at 4 weeks of age. One day while
11 year-old Gary was playing in the garden Weela rushed across the yard and
knocked the boy from where he was standing. The mother, who was watching,
was at first surprised by this odd behaviour and then horrified when she saw
a rattlesnake sink its fangs into Weela’s face. Weela recovered from the
bite and went on to save 30 people and an eclectic group of animals after
extreme flooding near her home. For this Weela was awarded the Ken-L
Ration’s Dog Hero of the Year.

2. Bear, a Rottweiler, was shot 3 times in the line of duty while
protecting owner/handler Edward Ernstberger. After a prison escapee shot
Ersntberger, Bear jumped from the police cruiser to attack the prisoner,
preventing him from killing her owner. She was shot three times, where she
had a bullet lodged in her spine, on in her chest, and a third bullet less
than 2 inches from her heart. Both Ersntberger and Bella survived the
incident and returned to duty. The two retired together.

3. Nicole Russell, who lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, was about
to leave for work one morning when a car pulled up and 4 armed men jumped
out and demanded her keys and purse. She held both arms out so that they
could take her jewelry and keys, but in her confusion she didn’t realize
that she had handed them her house keys. The men became agitated and violent
when the keys would not unlock the car. Russell began to scream when one of
the men grabbed her and began dragging her towards the car. Russell’s
mother, alerted by the screams, pushed a panic button in the house and ran
into the garden where she was confronted by an attacker with a knife. Bella,
the family’s 4 year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was with the mother and
she lunged at the man with the knife. She bit him several times on the leg
and was shot in the head. In spite of her injury Bella continued to defend
her family, until the men panicked and fled.There was a point when a man,
having just shot at Bella, turned his gun on Nichol and pulled the trigger.
There was an empty click: either the gun had misfired or Bella had taken the
bullet intended for Russell. When the men were gone Bella sat down and
rolled. As Nicole held the dog in her arms Bella looked at her quietly for a
few minutes, then died. An autopsy showed that Bella’s heart had been
completely drained of blood in her fierce battle to protect her family.

4. Steve Carpacca, 41, was woken by his pit bull at 3:15 am who was
barking fanatically. The room was filled with smoke and ran outside, only to
realize that his dog had not followed him. He tried to get back into his
blazing trailer, but the fire was out of control and he had to leave. The
dog never made it out alive; fire crews found its body in the hall just
outside of Mr. Carpacca’s bedroom.“The dog saved his life, absolutely,” said
Chief Dicky Harris.

5. Reona, a 109 pound Rottweiler left her house during and leapt over 3
fences to come to the aid of 5-year old Vivian Cooper during an earthquake.
Vivian has epilepsy, and over excitement could bring on a life threatening
seizure. Once in the house Reona pushed the little girl up against the
kitchen cabinets and held her there. Moments later a large microwave was
shaken of the top of a refrigerator, falling in the exact spot that Vivian
had just been. Vivian held onto Reona during the earthquake with her head
buried into the big dog’s fur. For her heroism Reona was the Ken-L Ration
Dog Hero of the Year in 1989.

6. Jimmy Farrel of Orleans, Ontario was in a deep sleep after working a
double-shift when his mother had a heart attack in the downstairs laundry
room. Sensing that something was wrong Lilly ran upstairs outside Jimmy’s
bedroom and began barking and banging her head against the door. The man
opened the door to let the dog climb into bed with him but Lilly was
persistent. Lilly pulled the blankets off and started yanking on his arm.
Jimmy realized something was wrong and followed Lilly downstairs where he
found his mother unconscious. The paramedics responded to his 911 call and
Ms. Farrell was rushed to the hospital where she was in critical condition
for two days. She recovered fully thanks to Lilly, the family’s Bull

7. Kathie Vaughn’s vehicle swerved off the road after something
exploded under the hood. Kathie, who is paralyzed from the waist down
brought her custom-designed van under control, which rapidly began to fill
with smoke. Vaughn opened her door and ordered her dog Eve, a 104 pound
Rottweiler, from the van as she tried to pull her wheelchair together. Eve
soon returned, grabbed her owner’s diabled leg, and dragged Vaughn from the
vehicle. Vaughn, who lost consciousness, was woken by an immense explosion
that triggered Eve to drag her owner another 20 feet from the vehicle.

8. Dixie (APBT) saved the lives of the 3 children in her family when
she pushed 9 year old Frank Humphries and his 7 year-old twin siblings,
Katie and Codi, out of the way of a deadly cottonmouth snake. Dixie was
herself bitten twice in the face by the snake, which was killed by Valerie
Humphries who rushed out and killed the snake with an axe. Valerie then
rushed Dixie, who was unconscious, to a veterinarian where it took 2 days
with the dog hooked up to intravenous antibiotics for the dog to begin her
recovery. For her bravery Dixie ended up winning the Hero Dog category in a
contest run by the Georgina Veterinary Medical Association, winning over 300
other nominated dogs, and was nominated into the Georgia Animal Hall of

9. Chris Georgiou of Adelaide, Australia was saved from drowning by his
Rottweiler and Border Collie. Georgiou, who didn’t know how to swim, fell
into a 15 feet of water in his fish-pond in full winter clothing. His Border
Collie Ziggy barked frantically as he lost his ability to stay above water
when Stella, his 90 pound Rottweiler came running over. Stella immediately
flew into the pond and swam to her owner, who grabbed hold of her ear.
Stella pulled Georgiou to shallow water where he could stand. “I’d be a dead
man if it wasn’t for my dogs,” said Georgiou.

10. Autumn Ingram, a young girl, was dragged from her house by the
family’s 3 year old APBT, Marley. The girl had gone into the house when she
saw the fire, and the mother (who esacped with Autum’s siblings through a
seldom-used back door) saw the dog grab Autumn’s coat and forcibly drag the
girl out of the house. The house was completely destroyed in the blaze, but
the family survived.

11. Queen (Rottweiler) saved her family when a fire started in an
electrical blanket covering a 9 year old boy. Queen raced to the bedroom of
Eddie and Michelle Watson and began to scratch frantically at Michelle’s
feet to wake her up. Michelle immediately smelled smoke and ran to her
children. The blanket covering her son was totally in flames. Michelle
grabbed her children and escaped from their home, which was destroyed in the

12. Abby (Rottweiler) stopped a kidnapping attempt in Pound Ridge, NY.
Six-month old Molly was being babysat when a man showed up a the sitter’s
cottage saying that the child’s father had been taken to the hospital and
that the mother had asked the man to come pick-up the baby. As the sitter
called to verify the story, the man grabbed the baby and ran for a white van
driven by a female accomplice. Abby jumped up and bit the man’s arm, who
then dropped the baby and fled in the van.

13. Lorenzo Abundiz decided to go home while hiking in the woods after
Cinder, his 4 year-old, Rottweiler began to behave strangely. Abundiz
collapsed from a heart attack moments after arriving home. The dog woke him
by pushing the phone towards him, and he was able to call an ambulance.

14. Keith Chandler, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a car
accident, was rescued by his 2 year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Sandy,
when a fire broke out in his home. The man yelled at his four children to
leave the house after he smelled the fire and saw smoke pouring from the
kitchen. He managed to roll himself off the bed he was in, and tried to drag
himself by the elbows across the floor but was making little progress. Sandy
rushed in from the garden, grabbed onto the top of his jumper and began
dragging Chandler to the patio. doors. She managed to get her owner outside.
“The whole room almost exploded just seconds after Sandy pulled me into the
garden,” said Chandler. The fire, which started in the kitchen, was so
intense that it gutted the house in less than 30 minutes. “The dog
undoubtedly helped this man get out of the house. He is severely paralysed
and I think without the dog’s help we would probably be dealing with a
fatality here,” “said a spokesperson for the fire department.

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