K9 Corner: Several dogs were heroes in 2006

January 03, 2007|HELEN PALMER

This is my favorite subject for this column: Dog Heroes for the past year.

* The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals presented its 2006 Humane Award to Lucy, a 5-year-old German shepherd dog, for rescuing her human family and four other dogs from a burning house. Lucy was found on the streets of Chicago and taken to a municipal shelter. Scheduled to be euthanized, she was selected by the Quincy Humane Society for foster care. She was adopted by Jennifer and Keith Gorsuch of Littleton, Ill. The night of the fire, she, alone, detected smoke and alerted the adults thereby rescuing the family including an 11-year-old daughter. The four other dogs slept through the excitement until roused by the owners.

Lucy was selected from 600 nominees, giving the judges a hard time making the final choice.

* Shana, a crossbred wolf-German shepherd received the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatments Hero's Award for bravery. The award is normally given to a human.


Shana was rescued by Eve and Norman Fertig and taken to the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y., at the age of two weeks. She had to be nursed back to health.

On Oct. 12, 2006, the Fortigs were feeding and caring for their injured wildlife when a tremendous storm hit and felled trees all over the county. At the sanctuary, the elderly couple (in their 80's) found themselves trapped between the animal hospital building and the aviary by enormous fallen trees. As night descended and the air chilled the couple were despairing of surviving when they realized that Shana (who now weighs 160 pounds), had started digging a path through the snow and a tunnel under the trees all the way to the farmhouse door. It took Shana two hours to complete the escape route. Then she returned, grabbed Eve's jacket and dragged her to the tunnel. It took another two hours, with the help of Norman, for the animal to get them back to the cold house (no electricity) where she laid on top of them until the firefighters arrived the next morning.

* The Humane Society of the United States hosted the 20th annual Genesis Awards in March 2006. Katrina, a black Labrador retriever, was guest of honor and the recipient of the prestigious award. Her feat was deciding, on her own, to rescue stranded humans. One man attests he owes his life to Katrina's rescue efforts. When word got back to one of the rescue headquarters, a unit was dispatched to rescue the hero dog.

* In Sydney, Australia, the Royal SPCA awarded Rocky, an Alsatian, its Bravery Award. Rocky took two bullets protecting her elderly owners from three masked home invaders. One bullet creased her skull, but missed her brain.

Rocky's owners thought she was a lovable family pet, not a guard dog, but they are glad she decided to attack the intruders.

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