ST. LOUIS, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A shelter cat named Pudding who rescued his owner from a diabetic seizure has been named the grand prize winner in the Purina® Pro Plan® Rally to Rescue® "Tales of Greatness" Story Contest. Pudding's feline journey to greatness was made possible due to the dedication of a small animal rescue organization, the Door County Humane Society in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. The organization took in Pudding when his owners were unable to care for him. For its rescue of Pudding, DCHS will be honored live in the main ring prior to the start of the National Dog Show presented by Purina and awarded with $5,000 in Purina Pro Plan brand pet food coupons. It marks the first time in the six-year history of the contest that a cat has won the grand prize.
Pudding's heroic journey began when he was first surrendered to the Door County Humane Society due to family allergies in 2008 and was again returned to the shelter after his next owner fell ill. After spending several months roaming freely at the shelter, Pudding's story took a dramatic twist when Wisconsin resident Amy Jung and her son, Ethan, volunteered at the shelter one day. Though she was not planning on adopting, Jung formed an instant connection to the green-eyed cat -- calling it "love at first sight" -- and she decided that day to make Pudding part of her family. At home, Pudding was immediately comfortable in his new surroundings and with his new family, unlike some other shelter cats that may take time to adapt. That evening, Jung went to bed with her new companion by her side, without realizing the powerful effect this new rescue pet would soon have on her life.
Just hours after falling asleep, Jung awoke to find Pudding sitting on her chest and nipping at her nose. Jung, a diabetic since the age of four, had come out of a seizure from what her doctor described as an adrenalin rush caused by Pudding's actions. Paralyzed from head to toe, but fully aware of the urgency of her situation, Jung had little to do but rely on the actions of her rescue pet that she had taken into her home just hours before.
"When Pudding jumped off of my chest and ran out of the room I instantly felt a sense of panic thinking that my life depended on this animal and without him I would die," said Jung. "After minutes of feeling alarmed and helpless, the next noise I heard was the sound of my son's feet hitting the floor and I immediately felt a wave of relief and realized that this cat had just saved my life."
This wakeup call by Pudding allowed Ethan to come to the rescue of his mother and phone in for the help she desperately needed. Pudding sat obediently by his owners' side as Ethan called his dad and was walked through the steps of administering an injection in his mother's leg.
The next morning, with Jung fully recovered from the seizure, she immediately phoned the shelter to inquire if Pudding had any rescue experience or training that enabled him to perform such a heroic act. After finding that there was no record of such training, Jung knew immediately that Pudding had found his calling and that same day registered him as a service animal. Pudding is now able to detect when her blood sugar drops even just two points below normal and alerts her when something is wrong through his meows and nibbles. Direct from doctor's orders, Pudding now follows Jung wherever she goes including her work at the local flower shop where he roams free but is never too far apart from his owner.
"To this day, Pudding isn't aware of how his actions so greatly impacted my life and family. How do you show enough gratitude to an animal you owe your life to?" said Jung. "I am hopeful that Pudding's story makes people realize that shelters hold amazing beings and there is always an option to expand your family and heart by adopting."
To honor this amazing tale of greatness, Carrie Counihan from the Door County Humane Society and Jung will be honored live in the main ring prior to the start of the National Dog Show presented by Purina, which airs on NBC on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, Counihan and Jung will receive VIP treatment at the National Dog Show including a backstage tour, exclusive tickets and seating, and the opportunity to have a meet-and-greet with David Frei, expert analyst for the show. As part of the grand prize, Door County Humane Society will be awarded with $5,000 in Purina Pro Plan brand pet food coupons to help support the organization's continued care for animals in need.
"It is small rescue shelters like the Door County Humane Society and Carrie Counihan that see the wonderful potential in rescue pets," said Mike Chirco of the Purina Pro Plan marketing team. "Pudding's story serves as a reminder that all animals, rescue or purebred, have something innately great inside them and with the help of small pet rescue organizations can truly make a positive difference."
This summer, Purina Pro Plan launched the sixth annual Rally to Rescue "Tales of Greatness" Story Contest that celebrates rescue dogs and cats, and the organizations that helped put them on the path to achieve greatness. More than 40 stories were submitted and a judging panel selected the four stories that best captured how these pets have achieved greatness. From September to October, more than 2,000 votes were cast by pet lovers across the country to select the story that inspired them most as the grand prize winner.
While Pudding's tale is truly inspiring, it is just one of the countless stories that occur every day as a result of the efforts of pet rescue organizations. To read more of these incredible stories, visit www.facebook/rallytorescue.
Sylvia Henry: 312.729.4472
Bill Etling: 314.982.4825
Nestle Purina PetCare Company
SOURCE Nestle Purina PetCare Company