The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Dogs of Valor Awards. The awards celebrate the human-animal bond by honoring dogs who have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need.
Valor Dog of the Year
· Baby C. (Albuquerque, N.M.) – After their SUV plummeted 20 feet off a mountain road and wedged upside down between two trees, Baby nestled close to her owner, Elwood Cardon, who was injured and trapped by the steering column. The Great Dane also crawled out of a shattered window several times to seek help. After 10 hours, Baby finally got the attention of one of the area’s few residents and led her to the wreckage.
· Boo (renamed “Hero”) (Jim Thorpe, Penn.) – While walking Boo in an isolated area, the German Shepherd mix’s owner, Dennis Redline, slipped on ice, hit his head, and lost consciousness. Immediately, Boo began running through the area, barking. Neighbors called police, and when they arrived several hours later, Boo led them to Dennis who was still unconscious. He remained in a coma for 6 days.
· Charley (Loganville, Ga.) – Charley barked and paced until he got the attention of his owner, Frances Gippert. Finally giving in to his persistence, she took the West Highland terrier outside, and they started to walk along their normal path. It was then that Charley pulled Frances the opposite way, leading her down the street to a semi-conscious man who was lying next to a house in the shrubs. Frances called for help and discovered the man had a brain hemorrhage, a collapsed lung and a cracked rib.
· Jake (Omaha, Neb.) – When Jake’s owner, Tony Bailey, was swept away by strong currents in the Platte River, he called for help as he gasped for air. Although his cries were muffled to his family on the shore, the Labrador retriever recognized the boy’s distress, leapt into the river, and swam to Tony. Tony wrapped his arms around Jake’s neck who swam the boy back upstream to safety.
· D-boy (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – After an armed man burst through their home’s front door and yelled for D-boy’s owner, Roberta Trawick, and her family to get on the ground, the pit bull entered from another room and charged towards the assailant. Before reaching him, the man shot D-boy in the head. D-boy continued, but the man shot him twice more. The man then fled the home. The family called 911, and D-boy was treated at a local emergency veterinary center.
Photo Credits: Baby, Elwood Cardon; Boo, James Svehla; Charley, Frances Gippert; Jake, Tony Bailey; D-boy, News9.com.