2014

Canadian Animal Heroes Honoured for Life Saving Bravery

Four courageous canines inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame at 45th annual celebration

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TORONTO, May 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Heroes come in all shapes and sizes but at this morning's 2013 Purina Animal Hall of Fame ceremony four canines were celebrated: Bella, Vicious, Snickers and Teak took top honours for their courage, determination and fearless devotion. Hosted at Toronto's PawsWay, the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, the inductees were honoured for the extraordinary actions they took to protect a human life - demonstrating the unique and powerful bond that exists between animals and people.

"Now in its 45th year, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame annually shares amazing life-saving stories and incredible acts of courage shown by pets and service animals across the country," said Mary Siemiesz, Executive Director of the Purina PetCare Legacy. "The tenacity of our 2013 inductees to rescue and protect people from harm - whether it's a wild animal, house fire, criminal or a medical emergency - showcases the connection animals have to humans and the physical risks they will take to keep them safe."

As one of the longest running pet recognition programs in Canada, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame has recognized the life-saving heroics of pets and service animals for 45 years. Since its inception in 1968, 159 animals have been inducted - 132 dogs, 26 cats and one horse. Canadians across the country can visit www.purina.ca/about/halloffame to read past stories, and learn how to nominate a heroic pet or service animal themselves. The 2013 inductees were carefully selected from hundreds of nominations across the country, submitted by those impacted by the heroic acts exhibited by a pet or service animal over the past year.

"The Purina Animal Hall of Fame is at the heart of who we are as a company and we are privileged to celebrate these extraordinary heroes," said Siemiesz. "This year's inductees remind us of how much animals enrich our lives, and that pets and humans are better together."

Considered by many to be very important members of the family, and even society, canines have grown into protective and unquestionably loyal animals that have enhanced and even saved the lives of the people they live with. The 2013 Purina Animal Hall of Fame inductees have proven themselves to be courageous and devoted canines who put themselves in danger in order to prevent what could have otherwise been four horrible tragedies.

"Without Bella's devotion, strength and courage I would have died in the fire that destroyed my home," said Chris Larocque, owner of the two-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog from Milton, Nova Scotia, and 2013 Inductee. "She is truly our family hero, and we're so happy that Bella is being recognized for her life-saving efforts by the Purina Animal Hall of Fame."

The 2013 Purina Animal Hall of Fame Inductees:

Bella (Milton, NS)
One afternoon last November, Chris Larocque was home alone and while checking on his lunch in the oven, an ankle injury that he had sustained from a past automobile accident acted up. His ankle gave out and he fell, hitting his head. On the way down, the cloth he had in his hand grazed the elements in the oven and caught fire, quickly moving up his arm, and onto his clothing. In desperation, he removed his shirt and threw it against the wall, causing the kitchen walls to catch fire. Chris quickly realized he couldn't get up on his own because of his injuries so he desperately called for his dog Bella. Fortunately, he was able to grab onto Bella's collar and, with his coaching, she pulled him out of the burning house. Without Bella, there is no doubt in Chris' mind - or his family's - that the house would have burned down with him still in it and he wouldn't be here today.

Vicious (Trail, BC)
On a warm summer evening last August, Angie Prime was relaxing in her living room with her twelve-year-old Border Collie/Labrador cross, Vicious, and her two puppies. Like she had done in the past, Angie had her lights turned off so as not to attract insects, and left the sliding door open to the backyard so her pets could go in and out. Suddenly, Angie sensed another presence in the room. She turned and found herself face-to-face with a cougar. Realizing she had nowhere to go, Angie put her arms up to shield her face and screamed as the cougar pounced on her. From across the room, Vicious sprang into action, launching herself at the cougar. The cat disengaged and headed towards the open door. Vicious followed protectively, chasing the cougar out towards the green belt at the back of the property. Not long after, Vicious came back fortunately unharmed. Conservation officers arrived at the scene and they agreed that Angie was extremely lucky to be alive. If it wasn't for Vicious' quick action and dedication, Angie would have met a very different fate.

Snickers (Oshawa, ON)
Early morning last March, Constable Rob Garnett and his partner responded to a call about Snickers, a 4-year-old Border Collie/Pointer cross who was pacing in a resident's driveway, barking incessantly, and blocking their attempts to leave for work. New to the neighbourhood, the family didn't recognize the dog, but their young daughter suggested he lived next door. Constable Garnett decided to investigate the home, but received no response. Instinctively, he peered through the window and that's when he saw Gregory Gould, who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lying unconscious on his living-room floor. Quickly, Constable Garnett and his partner broke through the door and called paramedics. Once inside, he realized that, in Snickers' determination to get help for his owner, he had thrown his body repeatedly against the screen door, triggering the release so he could get outside. Thanks to Snickers' keen intuition, persistence, physical strength and determination, Mr. Gould received the medical attention he needed to save his life.

Service Dog of the Year: Teak (Vancouver, BC)
On the evening of January 11th, 2013, Teak, an eight-year-old German Shepherd Dog and his partner Constable Derrick Gibson responded to an armed robbery in progress. The suspect fled on foot to an area busy with shoppers. Teak was deployed, caught the suspect, and brought him to the ground. When he caught up to Teak, Constable Gibson saw the suspect slashing the dog with a knife on the neck multiple times. It was only after the suspect was overwhelmed by more officers and subdued that he dropped the knife. Teak was rushed to the veterinary hospital where he underwent two surgeries and miraculously, has healed from almost all his wounds. Constable Gibson believes that Teak was a true animal hero that night, not only saving his life but those of the civilians in the street and even the suspect. Teak has since retired from the Vancouver Police Department, but the team always remembers his extreme bravery in exhibiting valour beyond the call of duty.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada is a leading pet care company and global manufacturer of quality and nutritious pet food brands such as Pro Plan, Purina One, Dog Chow, Alpo, Beneful, Beggin' Strips, Busy Bone, Cat Chow, Friskies, FancyFeast, Luv, and cat litter brands Maxx and Kitty Litter. Our promise, "Your Pet, Our Passion", and the creation of the PawsWay centre, the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, reflects our commitment to pets and promoting responsible pet care. Purina is the proud sponsor of The Purina National and the Lions Foundation of Canada Purina Walk For Dog Guides. For more information about Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada please visit www.purina.ca.

For more information about the Purina Animal Hall of Fame please visit www.purina.ca/about/halloffame. To watch videos of this year's inductee stories, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/purinacanada.

B-roll will be available twice via satellite:
Monday, May 6, 2013 at 15:00-15:30 Firm, Eastern, and again Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 10:00-10:30 Firm, Eastern
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SOURCE Purina Animal Hall of Fame

Image with caption: "Bella, a 2 year old Bernese Mountain Dog from Milton, Nova Scotia was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame today for saving the life of Chris Larocque. When the Larocque's kitchen caught on fire, and Chris could not get out due to mobility-related injuries, he called for Bella, grabbed onto her collar, and she pulled him out of the burning house. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130506_C3719_PHOTO_EN_26378.jpg

Image with caption: "Snickers, a 4 year old Border Collie/Pointer cross from Oshawa, Ontario, was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame today for saving the life of Greg Gould. Snickers broke out the back door and barked until paramedics were called to assist Mr. Gould, who had fallen unconscious on his living room floor. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130506_C3719_PHOTO_EN_26380.jpg

Image with caption: "Vicious, a 12 year old Border Collie/Labrador cross from Trail, British Columbia, was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame today for saving the life of Angie Prime. When a cougar wandered into Angie's home last August and jumped on her, Vicious launched into action, fearlessly lunging at the cougar and chasing it out of the house. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130506_C3719_PHOTO_EN_26377.jpg

Image with caption: "Teak, a Police Service Dog from Vancouver, British Columbia, was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame today. Teak chased down and caught a dangerous suspect, who then slashed Teak numerous times on the neck with a knife. Throughout, Teak did not release his grip, which enabled officers to capture the dangerous suspect. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130506_C3719_PHOTO_EN_26379.jpg

Image with caption: "Bella, a 2 year old Bernese Mountain Dog from Milton, Nova Scotia, and her owner Chris Larocque, share a moment during her induction into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame earlier today. When the Larocque's kitchen caught on fire, and Chris could not get out due to mobility-related injuries, she saved his life by pulling him out of the burning house. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130506_C3719_PHOTO_EN_26428.jpg




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