Super Dog! To the Rescue!

By Tyler Pollard
When one googles the definition of “hero,” the first result we are given is “a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength.” The list goes on to describe champions, a mathematician, song titles, Greek mythology and even a type of sandwich, but nothing mentions our selfless friends in the animal kingdom. Time and time again there are instances of pets saving human lives, yet these acts of bravery aren’t always given the recognition they deserve. Fortunately, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame exists to raise awareness about pet heroism and to ensure these amazing acts of bravery are honoured.

Founded in 1968, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame is one of the longest-running pet-recognition programs in Canada.  The year of its conception three dogs were inducted into the hall of fame for performing extraordinary acts of bravery, intelligence and devotion which had gone beyond the human-pet bond and saved lives. Pat, a Labrador Retriever, towed his owner in an oarless boat for almost four hours in the rough waters of the St. Lawrence Rivers.  Then there was Tippy, a Shepherd/ Lab mix, who pulled an eight-year-old child from the icy Niagara River.  Lastly, little Bambi, a Chihuahua, saved a visiting friend of the family by awakening her after a fire started in the house. Today a grand total of 142 heroic Canadian animals have been inducted in to the Purina Animal Hall of Fame: 117 dogs, 24 cats, and even one horse!
The Hall of Fame’s long history has brought attention to many life-saving acts and each animal’s story is quite unique. From warning humans about deadly carbon monoxide emissions, to warding off bear attacks, to drawing attention to stroke victims, pets have given a heroic paw to all sorts of dangerous situations.  In 1994, a one-year-old Labrador Retriever named Belle was one of several heroes credited with saving the life of three-year-old, Ken.  The young boy fell into an icy channel of the Lunenburg Harbour in Nova Scotia and spent 30 chilling minutes under water.  The boy was saved from the water after his father spotted Belle in the water too, acting as a marker.  Local rescue and medical teams were able to restart Ken’s heart two hours later and to the amazement of doctors, Ken awoke from a coma after 48 hours in hospital. That same year, Sam, an eight-year-old German Shepherd saved her owner when she fell through a frozen river in Mississauga, Ontario. Her owner, grabbed Sam by the collar, who was able to pull her to safety.
By Tyler Pollard
 Unfortunately, not all heroic acts have such happy endings. Chance is a nine-year-old Dalmatian/ Fox Terrier and was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame just this year for trying to save the life of his seven-year-old autistic owner, James. In December 2009, James was playing with Chance in their backyard when the pair suddenly went missing. The community searched for them long into the night, sadly without any luck, and there was still no sign of either James or Chance in the morning. To make matters worse, a snowstorm hit the region and little James had no jacket. Two days later, Chance returned home, leading search and rescue teams directly to James, who was unconscious and was suffering from severe hypothermia. He was, however, miraculously alive! Medical teams at the hospital where astonished that he had survived the blizzard and credited his survival to Chance staying by his side. Tragically, James succumbed to hypothermia and passed away later that day. Although James is no longer with his family, Chance kept James alive until he could be found and gave his family an opportunity to say their goodbyes.
The Purina Animal Hall of Fame also awards the noble Ralston Purina Service Dog of the Year Award.  This award was inspired in 1992 by Tracker, a 10-year-old German Shepherd owned by Sergeant Larry Bigley. During his time spent serving in the Sudbury District, Tracker had been involved with about 500 missing persons searches, criminal, drug and security details. It became evident that canine involvement with the force was extremely beneficial to fighting crime and helping officers perform their duties. The first five Police Service Dogs to receive the prestigious Service Dog of the Year Award were Cato (1993), Ewo (1994), Keno (1997), Caesar (1999), and Bandit (2001), while Keno (2002) was the first non-police dog to receive this honoured distinction for finding Ryan Radchenko beneath two meters of snow.
While our furry heroes may be overlooked by many, the bond we share with our pets is unarguably inspiring and can save lives.  To nominate a Canadian hero, either a pet or service dog, send your story to Purina.  The 2011 inductees will attend a private ceremony in the spring at PawsWay in Toronto. PawsWay, home to the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, is open six days a week and admission is free (and canine friendly)!
By Krystinne McKinnon

Lower Fort Garry Goes to the Dogs

Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada
Just North of Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Highway 9, there is a little slice of land where it is always the summer of 1851 and, on the second Sunday of June, dogs take centre stage.
This past June 13th, there were more than just the historical interpreters who were bright of eye and bushy of tail as the gates opened at Lower Fort Garry, a National Historic Site run by Parks Canada. Outside the beautiful limestone walls of this old Hudson Bay Company (HBC) Fort, a number of eager visitors and their dogs were waiting patiently for the “Big Stone Fort’s Second Annual Dog Day” to get underway.

Lower Fort Garry’s Dog Day celebrates the importance of dogs in the pre-fur trade and fur trade era of North America. Kim Larcombe, Acting Volunteer Coordinator, explained to me why the Fort decided to organize a day focused on dogs in the fur trade:
“There are many reasons why we decided to celebrate dogs here at Lower Fort Garry. First and foremost, dogs have long been an important part of this country’s culture. Used for centuries for transportation, hunting, protection and companionship by European and Aboriginal people alike, their history is an integral part of Canada’s history and we felt that it should be showcased. Second, as a dog-owner I can vouch to the fact that there are not too many truly dog-friendly destinations. The fort is very popular with local people who bring their dogs here for walks, so extending this opportunity to a wider audience seemed natural.”
Dogs have always been welcome on site at Lower Fort Garry, but on Dog Day our four-footed friends are give a rare chance to step inside most of the buildings with their owners. Dogs are also given the opportunity to step back in time and try various activities that their ancestors may have done. In the company of historically costumed interpreters, dogs can pull an Aboriginal travois, a sort of A-framed carry-all; they can pull a miniature Red River Ox-cart; or even wear a tuppy, a traditional dog blanket.
During the day there are also a number of other activities and events. Owners can enter their dogs into various competitions held throughout the day, such as a fashion show judged by the Governor’s Wife, a talent show judged by the Governor himself, or a look-a-like contest. There is also an all day K9 trade show and presentations from the Diamond Disc Dogs showcasing tricks, a mushing demo, as well as agility and Frisbee freestyle routines.
If that were not enough, visitors can wander over to the Northwest bastion and step into the Fort’s bake house (where the HBC made hardtack for the Company’s tripmen) and get a special treat just for their dog!
Larcombe, who helped facilitate the first Dog Day at the Fort in 2009, told me that, “Dog Day has had a resounding positive response from the staff, volunteers and the public,” but wanted to also let people know that, “while Dog Day at Lower Fort Garry is specially dedicated to canines, the site always welcomes well behaved animals.”
If ever you find yourself in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the second Sunday of June, jump into your car, or a York Boat, with your furry friend and head North to the Big Stone Fort for a day that is sure to please you, your family and your dog.
By Kevin Mogk

Happy Canada Day!

By Urban Bent Studio
July 1st is upon us and with it fireworks, red and white fashions, barbecues and flags galore! How do you celebrate the nation’s birthday with your pet? Write to us and share your best Canada Day stories! We’d love to know!

Women and Puppies First!

It’s the middle of summer – warmth, sunshine, and free time. What better way to spend it than at a cottage with your best canine friend? The water’s clear and warm, just begging you to jump in. Ol’ Spot, however, wants absolutely nothing to do with any of it.
Contrary to popular belief, and the deceptively named “doggy paddle,” not all pooches know how to swim! While a dog like a Labrador loves to be in the lake, many other dogs simply don’t have the size, strength or body fat to easily stay afloat. Don’t go and cancel your cottage getaway just yet, though! Just like for humans who’ve got some trouble swimming, there’s a solution for water-averse doggies: canine life jackets.

First off, here’s a refresher on the physics at play. Things float when they displace a greater volume of water (by weight) than they themselves weigh. So, something that weighs two pounds needs to displace two pounds of water in order to float. Two pounds of rock, being rather small, can’t push that much water, so it would sink like… well, a rock. Two pounds of beach ball, however, is much larger and can push enough water to float. Body fat is relatively light, compared to how much space it takes up. A plump pooch would have a much easier time floating than a very thindog, like a greyhound.
Floating is just half the battle – a dog needs to have a good paddle too. In order to push against the water, a dog has to have a large surface area on his feet. Some, like the Lab, have webbed paws which provide excellent water pushing power. Smaller dogs, and those without webs, have a much harder go at it. Imagine the difference between swimming with your fingers together and paddling with an open hand. Dogs with tiny feet have an even worse time – imagine swimming using only closed fists!
Now, just because your four-legged chum lacks the volume and foot-webbing needed for easy swimming doesn’t mean that he has to stay on shore and watch, forlorn, as you frolic in the water. Dog life jackets, ranging in price from $20 to $60 depending on size, are an easy and affordable way for your cute canine compatriot to enjoy the full cottage experience without worry.
Available in bright safety colours for visibility or designer patterns for style, these life jackets are specially made and fitted for dogs to provide a snug, buoyant fit. Most styles also have a sturdy handle on the back to help you pull your pup out of the water if need be. Outward Hound, RuffWear and Kyjen are three popular pet life preserver brands, but there are many others out there. Once they’re in their jacket, any dog from an Afghan hound to a Yorkshire terrier can swim with confidence and ease, and without constant supervision.
No one really thinks of dogs having a hard time swimming. The image of the happily paddling Golden Retriever is so engrained in the collective conscious that the idea of a pup struggling in the water isn’t even on our radar. A trip to the cottage is no fun for your pooch if they’re confined to dry land while all the excitement is happening in the water. Fortunately for our furry friends, these specialized life jackets let even the poorest four-legged swimmer enjoy the full cottage experience. So suit that doggie up and hit the road; the summer won’t enjoy itself!
By Alexander Bentley

June 2010 Pet of the Month!

Three words instantly come to mind when describing this lovely little lady, cute, cute and cute! Nine months old and living in the charming town of Sarnia, ON, this inquisitive Shi-Tzu/Lhasa Apso mix has no problem batting her lashes, whipping out her best ‘puppy dog eyes’ expression and posing for the camera.
Described by her proud parents, Mike and Beth Compton, as a bundle of comic relief, Zoey is known for her loving personality and eagerness to please. “She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body,” says Beth. “She is just a sweetheart through and through.”

Full of life and affection, Zoey leaves little paw-prints of joy on the world. Whether she has to be on her best behaviour for photos with Santa or is romping around with her sister, Izzy, this is one little fluff-ball who captures hearts wherever she goes.
Congratulations Miss Zoey for being selected June 2010’s Pet of the Month!
The Zohan, Zozo Beans, Zozey, Chomps, ZoMyster and Zoeykins
I go nuts over my bone (really nuts!)
I can’t choose between my flamingo and beaver (pink and Canadian, what’s not to love?)
Whenever I get a treat, I love to hide it away in a blanket or stuff it in the couch and then hunt for it later! What fun!
Okay, so this one time I was at my grandparents house visiting and …well…nature called. So I went out through the patio doors, then saw my friend Smudge inside ready to play! I got so excited that I ran straight head first into the glass door (*blush*). I had to sit down, shake my head, then try to figure out why everyone was laughing so much.
Baths and going to the grooming salon. No time for makeovers, I’ve got too much running around to do!
If you would like to nominate your pet friend for next month’s “Pet of the Month Contest,” please email submissions to info@pawsh-magazine.com.