Medal of honour for hero dogs who kept injured owner warm after car crash

TORONTO — A pair of dogs who kept their injured owner warm after a car accident and a devoted whippet who alerted a sleeping man to his wife’s fall are among the new inductees to the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.

Organizers say four heroic hounds are being recognized for life-saving acts of perseverance and intuition.

They include two-year-old Ruth and seven-year-old Lady from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. They huddled to keep Matthew Smith warm after a crash caused head trauma, a lacerated liver and broken ribs in April 2017. The two Labrador/border collie crosses then lured a nearby homeowner to the crash site, and emergency services arrived in time to save Smith’s life.

Then there’s the 12-year-old whippet Sabrina from St. Laurent, Que., who roused Bill Schwartz from a deep slumber to help his wife Adele. She had fallen down basement stairs in the middle of the night, suffering a severe concussion and fractured vertebra in her neck.

Also being honoured is Arik, an eight-year-old German shepherd from Baddeck, N. S., who found 90-year-old Lloyd Stone lying in the woods on a cold day in March 2017. He had slipped on ice and broken his hip, and was dipping in and out of consciousness.

The dogs get a medal of honour and a year’s supply of Purina dog food.

This is the 50th anniversary of the hall of fame program. To date, 179 animals have been inducted, including 151 dogs, 27 cats, and a horse.

Purina also announced two honourable mentions Monday.

One is an Instagram star named Smiley, a certified child therapy dog born without eyes. He spent his first two years in a puppy mill before being adopted by Joanne George and going on to amass more than 200,000 Instagram followers. He died last year at age 16.

Also honoured is Koby, a five-year-old German shepherd, border collie and husky mix from Toronto who helped his owner Emily Sweet cope with bullying, severe depression and anxiety during her high school years.

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