Skippy Dog Heroes

by Rebecca on November 9, 2007

in Animals in the News

The 45th Skippy Dog Hero of the Year is Shelby, a 7-year-old German Shepherd
from Ely, Iowa, who saved the lives of two adults and two children by
alerting them to dangerously high carbon monoxide levels in the home where
they were sleeping. 

On the evening of December 13, after a long day of baking Christmas cookies,
John and Janet Walderbach were awakened by the cries of their friends’ two
children, who were overnight guests. They and the children awoke with
terrible headaches and upset stomachs. As Janet was rocking the younger
child to sleep, she passed out.

Shelby revived her by nudging her until she regained consciousness. Shelby
had her ears down and her tail tucked between her legs as she went to wake
John. She continued to act anxious and would not leave their sides, as they
tried to determine what was making them and the children feel so sick.

Thinking she might need a trip outdoors, John put her outside; but that only
made her act more anxious as she began to bark, whine and scratch at the
door. She did not rest until John, Janet and the children were safely
outside the home.

Luckily, at the hospital, all four people were successfully treated in
hyperbolic chambers, which eliminated the carbon monoxide in their bodies,
preventing any severe damage. Doctors remarked that they were very lucky to
have made it out when they did. The house measured 280 ppm (parts per
million) of carbon monoxide, a level at which death or severe long-term
damages are imminent.

Shelby survived the incident as well. And her owner, Joleen Walderbach (John
and Janet’s daughter), couldn’t be more proud.

“In my eyes, and in the eyes of my family, Shelby is more than a hero; she
is a lifesaver, a guardian angel,” said Joleen.

For her efforts, Shelby and her owner received $500, one year’s supply of
Skippy dog food, and an engraved Skippy Dog Hero food bowl.

Two other dogs were recognized as Skippy Dog Heroes in this year’s contest.
Each received a $200 cash prize.

First runner-up honors went to Spike, a two-year-old American Pitbull
Terrier owned by Dr. Danny Fredman of Tucson, Arizona. Last summer, when
Spike’s owner was preparing to dive into his pool, Spike began barking
incessantly. Sensing something must be wrong, Danny turned on the pool
lights. To his astonishment, a 5-foot Western Diamondback Rattlesnake was
coiled up on the surface of the water, right in his swimming path. By
warning Danny of the danger, Spike saved his owner’s life.

Second runner-up honors went to Sam, a 1-year-old Black Labrador/Rottweiler
mix owned by David Biddle of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. Sam was living with
David and his roommates while David attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem,
PA. One early morning, Sam’s scratching and whining at their door awakened
David’s roommates. They found David on their sofa moaning and disoriented
with a 108-degree fever. They took him to the emergency room where he was
diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis. David spent 102 days in the
hospital, where Sam often visited him to help keep up his spirits. David
lost six fingers and both legs below the knee to his illness, but he
survived and returned to Lehigh this year, using prostheses. If Sam had not
awakened David’s friends and David had gone without treatment for even one
half hour longer, he would have lost his life.

Skippy Dog Hero Contest
Skippy is proud to sponsor this program, which rewards heroic dogs for their
actions every year.

The Skippy Mega Brand is Heinz Pet Products’ number-one-selling can dog
food. The Skippy brand offers five different forms, including ground, in the
most popular flavors. Additionally, Skippy dog food is 100 percent complete
and balanced nutrition.

Heinz Pet Products, an affiliate of the H.J. Heinz Company, is a leading
producer of dog and cat food and treats, with top-selling brands such as
9-Lives and Pounce cat food and treats; Skippy, Kibbles ‘n Bits and Gravy
Train dog food; and Jerky Treats, Snausages, Pup-Peroni and Meaty Bone dog

CONTACT: For more information on the program, please visit




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