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Dog's can be described as mans best friend, they are intelligent faithful and loving and would do anything to please there owners. Millions of people world wide keeps dogs as pets because they provide company comfort and long lasting relationships. Sometimes though a dog will defend you rescue you or even carry out extremely dangerous tasks, for instance dogs that go to war zones and dogs that sniff out drugs and criminals all provide a valuable service without batting an eyelid. 


Shana is a half wolf half German Shepherd puppy that was rescued by Eve and Norman Fertig when she was just two weeks old. Shana was sick and the Fertig's put there attentions into nursing the dog back to health. The couple run an animal sanctuary that cares for injured animals in Alden, New York. The couple fed and exercised around a dozen animals while caring for wounded birds including an 18 year old Raven and a crow that had been shot and blinded in one eye and had two broken legs. One day Seven years later as the elderly couple were carrying out there daily routine of attending to there animals a terrible stroke of bad luck happened, Suddenly a large tree fell and blocked there way back to the house and also to other buildings in close vicinity of where they were standing. Because of there age they were in trouble as it was a very cold night and if they could not get back inside there home they would freeze to death outside (Hyperthermia). The couple were about 200 feet away form safety and were stuck, Eve turned to her husband in realization of the sudden peril they were in and said "I think we could die out here".


Neither person had any suitable warm clothes on and neither could climb over the fallen tree without risk of serious injury, They huddled together in a narrow alley between the hospital building and the aviary as they hugged and prayed for this was there only option. Shana always followed the couple around and was a very faithful and loving dog. Suddenly Shana begins to dig a tunnel similar to a mine shaft under the fallen trees using her teeth and claws, Shana barked incessantly as a way to tell them that she was going to try and save them by digging under the snow. As Shana digged with all her energy Norman had thoughts and painful memories of foxholes that he experienced while serving in Okinawa in the Second World War. 


While the Army had put war dogs to good use already, mainly for sentry and guard duties, World War II was the first organized deployment of canine warriors by the Marine Corps, and the Marines intended to bring the dogs into the field, sniffing out enemy positions to warn of ambushes and ferrying messages back and forth.

Only a select few were accepted into service, and even then they would undergo rigorous training to prepare them for life in the combat zone. In total, 1,074 dogs were ‘enlisted’ in the Marine Corps, and 29 would die in combat, along with just under 200 fatalities from disease or accidents. After a year of organization and training, the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon entered action on Bougainville on November 1st, 1943. During the long ride through the Pacific, the handlers were considered to be pretty strange, and their mission was questioned by many, but once they entered combat, the value of the “Devil Dogs” was pretty quickly apparent, and Marine War Dogs would serve through the end of the war.

After the war, an outcry ended plans to euthanize the remaining veteran animals, and instead they were put through demilitarization training, with almost universal success. Many were returned to their families, although in more than a few cases, the Marine handler would bring the dog back to civilian life with him.

A dog and a US Marine who is comfortably occupying a “fighting hole” in Guam, during World War II; 1944

Shana continues to dig under the tree and a few hours had passed before she managed to tunnel through to the other side. Shana was exhausted but managed to find the strength to return and help to pull the elderly couple through the tunnel. The tunnel was about as wide as Eve's kitchen shelf so it was going to be a tight squeeze, Shana grabbed the sleeve of Eve's jacket and started to pull her through the tunnel as Norman held on to Eve's legs and incredibly Shana managed to pull the elderly couple through the tunnel and under the trees to an opening in a fence which lead to the house. The house was without heat or electricity because of the damage the falling tree had caused. It was now around 2 am in the morning and the nightmare was still not over. 


The couple returned to the house and Shana acted unselfishly again by donating her warm body so that the elderly couple could receive some heat as they had no way of notifying the emergency services and had to wait until the light of day. The fire department arrived the following morning and in Eve's own words she describes the experience. "It was the most heroic thing I have ever seen in my life, We opened the door and we just fell in and she laid on top of us and just stayed there and kept us alive. The firemen found the couple in the morning still huddled together with Shana.

The firefighters removed the fallen trees from the grounds and checked for any other trees that might be in danger of falling also, They brought hot food and water for both Shana and the couple. The fire department and others could not believe what this incredibly brave dog had done. The following week Shana received The Citizens For Humane Animal Treatment's Hero Award for bravery, which is traditionally given to humans. The plaque hangs in the living room of her proud owners.

Shana, there are no words but if there were, they would probably be: "Good dog and loyal friend."


Michael Bosch visited his local dog pound to find a new dog, As he looked around and at every cage his eyes suddenly fell onto a quivering little cocker spaniel with sad and scared eyes. As he leaned over to take a closer look a woman came in from the shelter and said "She just came in" her name is Honey Five months old. The previous owner had voluntarily surrendered Honey as she couldn't take responsibility for her anymore. The worker opened up the cage to let Michael Bosch pick her up.
He stroked her silky fur and cooed in delight, Honey immediately became at ease and stopped shaking, Michael decided to take Honey into the side yard where he threw a ball too see her response. Michael sat down to observe Honey running and chasing the ball she took the ball in her mouth then eagerly returned leaping into Michael's lap. Michael had made his mind up in that instance and immediately filled out the paperwork and took her home.


Michael Bosch with Honey 

From the very first day Honey followed Michael like a shadow never leaving his side. Honey loved to snuggle on Michael's lap and she kept his feet warm by sleeping at the foot of his bed. The next morning Micheal decided he would carry out some errands and decided he would take Honey with him. His wife was away for a few days and he hated the thought of leaving Honey on her own as she was still settling in to the new home. Michael grabbed his keys as he checked to make sure he has his nitroglycerin tablets and left the house jumping into his SUV 4Runner, Cmon honey let's go Michael shouted as Honey followed.


Honey settled down onto the passenger seat and Michael got behind the wheel and started the engine, Michael explains it's always tricky turning around as he lived in a remote area up in the hills outside San Rafael, California surrounded by towering redwoods. You have to drive up the mountain in low gear to get to our driveway, which is barely wide enough for one car and ends at a steep drop-off.I twisted around and backed up slowly. Just then, a flash of sunlight blinded me. I put my hand up to shield my eyes. I felt a jolt as the left rear section of the SUV dropped. Oh, no! The edge! The car slipped in the soft soil, and rolled. I hadn’t put on my seat belt yet; I was waiting to finish turning around. Now I tumbled inside the SUV as it somersaulted down the ravine. Branches snapped. The 4Runner rolled faster. Four, five, six rolls until I heard a horrible crunch.


(Example Only) Firefighters look for their tools after rescuing the driver of a Toyota 4Runner who landed in a stream at the bottom of a ravine in Brea Canyon Boulevard

A giant limb from one of the redwoods suddenly smashed through the roof hitting my leg and chest then embedded in the dash, Me and Honey landed upside down and I felt a searing pain in my chest and I was pinned down. I looked over at Honey who was still sat in the passenger seat and luckily she was Okay but a little shook up. Sorry girl Michael gasped while laying in pain as he tried to free himself from behind the wheel. The pain was very bad and I cried out but it was no use and there was no one around to save us. Michael has realized now there is something wrong with his leg and instantly reaches for his cell phone to dial 911, Michaels thoughts start to pray to God, Please God let the call go through Michael thinks to himself, the phone beeped twice but just as Michael had feared the call could not get through from the bottom of the ravine.

Michael was now fifty feet down the ravine and stuck upside down with no one to help. Robin who is Michael's closest neighbor lived a quarter of a mile up hill from him and had her own driveway, Lots of negative thoughts are going through his mind as there is no reason for anyone else to drive up his driveway and if someone did they would still not see the wrecked SUV, Michael's chest hammered.
Calm down! I told myself. I had stents in my heart, after all; I couldn’t afford to panic. I groped in my shirt pocket and pulled out the nitro tablets. I took one out, slipped it under my tongue and took a deep breath. My heartbeat slowed. But I still had pain in my chest. Must’ve busted some ribs. Honey whimpered. At least I could get her out of here. There was a hole in the driver’s side rear window. It was small, but just maybe . . . “C’mon, girl,” I said.


Painfully, I reached over and picked her up. I gently put her head through the hole, careful not to get her too close to a jagged edge. I managed to get her through and gave her a pat. “Go home, baby.” I shouted. Honey jumped to the ground and raced up the side of the ravine, my heart was racing like a jack  hammer so I took another pill, I thought maybe the horn will help I tried to reach over but couldn't get my hand around the protruding tree limb, I shouted but knew it was in vain, No one is going to hear me Michael thought as he sat there for hours hoping praying that someone would come and rescue him. Michael's ribs throbbed with pain and he thought for definite that he had broken some at this point.The pain was very bad and Michael had lost all feeling in his left leg.

Michael's mind ponders over the situation "If I ever get out of this I'd be a one legged guy with a bum heart and a cocker spaniel. Michael starts to think about Honey and contemplates the reality "Has she made it up the ravine safely? Did she find her way back home? She hardly knew the area What would happen to her? The last bit of light filtering through the leaves faded away. Now, with the sunset, the air turned cold. I shivered. Maybe Honey will get help. Who was I kidding? Stuff like that only happened in the movies. “What is it, Lassie? Is Jimmy in trouble?” Honey was probably lost in the woods. And I’d gotten her into this mess.


I felt my heart start racing again. Help me stay calm, Lord. You’ve given me a good life. A great wife. A great little dog. Watch over them if it’s my time. And, if not, please help me out of this. So tired. My pulse was weakening. All I had to do was close my eyes and . . . Slam! I jolted awake at the noise. Was that a car door? “Help!” I shouted with all my strength. “Help!” A voice answered, “Who needs help?” It was Robin. My neighbor! “It’s me, Mike,” I yelled back. “Down here. Call 911!” It seemed only minutes later I heard the throb of helicopter blades overhead. The rescue crew landed and made their way down to me. It took them forty-five minutes to cut me out of the SUV and get me up the ravine.


We flew to the hospital in the helicopter. I had all sorts of tests, X-rays, an IV. I’d broken five ribs, and there was internal bleeding and some serious muscle damage in my leg. “It’ll take awhile to recover,” an ER doctor told me, “but you’re going to be okay.”
“What about Honey?” I asked Robin. “She’s fine,” Robin said before they wheeled me off to my room. I wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile, so the next day a friend brought Honey to the hospital. She got right up next to me on the bed and snuggled close. With her there, it was like my pain disappeared. “It was the strangest thing,” Robin told me later. “I got home from work and Honey was waiting for me. She got all agitated and ran in circles, like she was trying to tell me something. She was frantic.”

Helicopters are a critical component when effecting a rescue, or when fighting a wildfire. The helicopter shown is a Bell 412, one of the more common in larger geographic areas where wildfire and rescues are both priorities. The Bell 412 has a storied past, and is used by a number of large fire departments. It is a dual engine aircraft, utilizing two jet turbines. Four rotors keep the 412 in the air and are highly adjustable, even in fierce winds. This Bell example used by the Orange County Fire Authority has a sophisticated cockpit, including an Avalex Mapping System that allows a moving map display in topographic maps, street maps, and flight maps. It can be used to determine the perimeter of a wildfire, as one example. A Garmin GPS moving map system has also been tied into the traffic avoidance system showing the pilots where other aircraft are in relation to their ship. The main cabin is configurable, with either multiple seats for transporting a firefighting crew, or a litter kit that can transport up to six patients. The rescue hoist includes 280 feet of cable. The belly tank utilizes a foam injection system and holds up to 360 gallons of water. It can be filled via an engine company (pump), or via a snorkel system can completely load the tank in less than 50 seconds.

Robin figured she’d bring Honey back to my house, and that’s when she heard me yell. How that little dog knew what to do and where to go is beyond me. She’d never been over to Robin’s house. And here’s the kicker, maybe. One day not long ago I was looking through her papers, which the shelter had sent to me. She had a different name originally. Can you guess? Angel. But I already knew that.


Image Right - Blue, an Australian blue heeler, licks wounds that he received in a fight with a gator.

85 year old Ruth Gay enjoyed walking her Australian Blue Heeler dog named "Blue", Ruth lives in LaBelle, Southwest Florida and at the end of her yard there is a path that leads onto a canal. It was dark but that did not bother Ruth even though the canal is full of alligators that frequently swim within meters from the bank. Ruth regularly took her dog for a stroll around 9 pm and it was just another night. However one night in 2001 Ruth slipped while walking on wet grass, she fell awkwardly breaking her nose and dislocating her shoulder. These injuries proved to be too much for Ruth as she was unable to get to her feet because of her old age. She yelled as loud as she could for someone to come and help her as "Blue" lay by her side.


Unfortunately no one did come to help even though she shared her house with her daughter and son in law. Sylvia and Albert Gibson who resided with her were not in they were out so could not possibly hear Ruth's cried for help. Injured and bruised in the dark was a terrible experience but another stroke of bad luck was just moments away. Suddenly "Blue" starts to growl and is getting protective for Ruth, Then a loud splashing sound is heard as something rather large starts to move from the dark waters edge. Blue leapt into action and went off to explore the sound as inquisitive dogs do. Ruth's worst fears had come true a large Alligator had come out of the canal after hearing the loud cries for help from Ruth, The alligator was dangerously close but Blue instinctively starts to growl and bark at the dangerous alligator in an attempt to shew it back into the water. Earlier in the day, three gators, ranging in size from 6 to 12 feet, swam in the canal next to the house. The banks of canal were about 50 feet across the yard from where Gay was lying injured. There's no sea wall and after days of heavy rains, the water was high, to the top of the bank.


The only species of Alligatoridae native to the United States is the American Alligator. Although they are not on the endangered list, alligators are protected in the states where they are found.

Out of the 254 counties in Texas, 120 counties have had reports of Alligators. The City of Arlington is no exception and though rare, alligators have been reported in creeks and lakes. Photos included in the images above show Animal Services staff in attendance at an alligator safety training class.


While captive, alligators can reach ages of 50-60 years old; in the wild they regularly reach 35-40 years of age. Mating for alligators occurs during late spring and early summer, with the female alligators laying eggs mid-June to July. The incubation of the 15-60 eggs lasts 65-70 days, which means usual hatching is in late August to early September.  When hatched, these baby alligators are only 8-9 inches in length. By the age of twenty, females can reach 6 – 8 feet but males can be far bigger, ranging from 8 -11 feet.


Normal alligator reaction to humans is to shy away but if they are being fed, they will soon associate people with food, which then creates dangerous situations. Although no human fatality has been recorded in Texas, and human-alligator conflicts are rare, citizens are cautioned to never approach an alligator. If an alligator is spotted, Arlington Animal Services may be contacted, but seeing an alligator does not necessarily make it a threat or nuisance. Alligators are very important to the ecology of Texas wetlands and costal region.


Ruth was unable to see anything in the pitch blackness all she could do was listen to the terrible sounds of Blue fighting with an alligator. Suddenly all was quiet and Ruth feared her beloved dog might have been killed by the incredibly strong jaws of the alligator, It was clear from the sounds that Blue was getting injured and in pain from the fight but miracles do happen. This story turned out to be a happy one as Blue successfully deterred the reptile and sent it back into the murky waters. Blue had suffered numerous bites and puncture wounds to his stomach and was very lucky to not have been dragged away by the strong jaws of the alligator. Blue did not stop there, As soon as Blue knew the alligator had swam off he went for help. A car had pulled up close by and Blue heard the sound so went to investigate. This car was the returning son in law and daughter Sylvia and Albert, Blue barked madly jumping up and down to try and catch there attention, blue then led Albert directly over to where Ruth lay injured.


The Gibson's immediately lifted Ruth from the ground after finding out her injuries before carrying her to there car and taking her swiftly to the local hospital where she remained for six weeks to recuperate from her injuries and shock, The Gibsons also took Blue to the Florida animal clinic in Fort Myers to be checked by a vet, Blue has various wounds thaty required surgery. Luckily both Blue and Ruth recovered from there injuries.
“He’s a little dog and fast like lightning,” said Dr. Terry Terlep, whose coworker treated Blue. “He was trying to fend off this animal and he’s so fast he could get out of the way. It’s amazing what an animal will do in a time of need. He’s a pretty brave dog.” Blue ended up winning the Heinz 47th Dog Hero of the Year in 2001 for his heroic actions. The dog is cited as saving his 85-year-old owner from an alligator attack and surviving numerous injuries from the dangerous encounter. A very brave dog indeed.


Canine heroism has been awarded by Heinz since their first 'Dog Hero of the Year Award' in 1954.


Kevin Weaver from Washington D.C.  who has diabetes was saved from his seizure and collapse that could of killed him. His dog a 17 pound beagle called Belle is considered a lifesaver after dialing 911 after her master had fallen to the floor. Mr Weaver 34,  suddenly had blood sugar levels that had dropped dangerously low resulting in his collapse. Belle the beagle was trained to call 911 on his cell phone by biting down on the number 9 in case of an emergency when Mr Weaver could not dial himself. 

Kristi Powers shows why "Belle the Beagle" is top dog in Kevin Weaver's world. This dog saved his life and you'll never guess how she did it! Listen to this heartwarming tale of man's best friend and how she became a hero thanks to her nose and specialized training.

Belle also regularly licks Mr Weavers nose to detect abnormalities in his blood sugar levels because of her keen sense of smell. Being a diabetic means you are always checking your sugar levels regularly to ensure they don't drop below a certain level, Belle has a great sense of smell like all dogs but she helps Mr Weaver to keep a check on his sugar levels and if they seem low Belle will paw and whine at him so that he is alerted. Belle was the first canine recipient to win the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, given to someone who used a cell phone to save a life, prevent a crime or help in an emergency.
Mr Weaver say's that every time she paws and whines I grab my meter and test he say's, She has never been wrong.


This story of courage and resilience happened back in 2001 on that terrible day on September 11th when the World Trade Center towers were attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists who flew 2 large commercial aeroplanes into the sides of the hyper tall buildings in an attempt to topple them and hurt as many people as possible. This act of hate and evil is burnt into everyone that saw it happening on television and for the many many thousands of people who lived and worked in New York and the entire world.


Michael Hingson visits GCPL at the Newbury Auditorium Saturday, September 16th at 2:00 p.m. to share his inspirational story of how he escaped from the World Trade Center on 9/11 with his seeing-eye dog Roselle. 

Michael Hingson who is blind and had a blind dog for assistance called Roselle who was a golden Labrador was at work on that fateful day in the North tower on the 78th floor. The North tower was the first one to be hit and this occurred at 8.46am on a bright and blue skied Tuesday September day. The impact of the aeroplanes when they smashed into the sides of the buildings caused the entire structure to sweigh around 20 feet one way and then the other, Most people thought the buildings were about to collapse at that moment but the buildings luckily corrected themselves to allow people time to escape the inferno. The aeroplanes had a lot of aviation fuel in there tanks when they smashed into the buildings, This allowed the fuel to penetrate the building and to elevate and increase the rapid fires that engulfed the building especially the upper floors and where the aeroplanes made contact.


Michael was a sales manager for a fortune 500 company called Quantum and his colleagues were finalizing preparations for seminars that day when the building was struck by the aeroplane. People inside the building were convinced they were going to die and sadly many people were already dead from the initial explosion and debris. Smoke and flames were suffocating people and many especially from the upper floors of the building could not escape they were trapped. The lifts had buckled and most had broken down, It was dangerous and risky to take an elevator as you could get stuck inside. The stairwells were also blocked from the upper floors above the impact which meant that people on that impact floor or above were unable to use the stairwells to escape as they either had been severed or blocked with sheet wall that was used to cover the walls. 


Workers in the North Tower are pictured evacuating down Stairwell B

Mayhem was assured as screams and a nightmare scenario erupted from inside the building, Michael knew he was in trouble and felt that there was enough time to escape if he could, Michael had always paid attention to fire drills and he knew not to take the elevators and not to panic but to take the stairs for safety in the event of fire or terrorist attack including bombs and other dangerous situations. Even with all the confusion noise burning debris smoke and screaming people "Roselle was calm and did not show any stress or agitation. Roselle would of acted differently had she sensed danger but at that moment she did not, Roselle and Michael are a team that work together to help each other.

Michael got his mind in focus and gave the customary command "Forward" as he and Roselle left his office and headed towards stairwell (B). Roselle was still calm as she guided Michael through thick smoke and past some elevators, People were congregating and standing around as they were unsure of what to do or were unaware of the incredibly dangerous situation they were in as the building could collapse. Peoples voices were anxious and Michael sensed the lift doors buckling from the intense 3000c heat that had penetrated the shaft space and had gone all the way down. Michael quickened his pace as Roselle unperturbed by the thick smoke continued on to stairwell (B). Other people began to follow as Michael started his descent down the 1,463 steps. Michael noticed a strong smell of kerosene because as a salesman having flown all around the world he had smelled the same odour on runways he knew it was jet fuel.


Michael's mind instantly envisages the possibility "what if a plane had hit the building?"
As Michael made haste with Roselle he began to count the stairs as a way to take his mind of the terrible situation, each floor had nineteen stairs split into two flights. Michael carefully listened to Roselles breathing and her health and mental state as he felt each and every fire door on each landing to help him and guide him further down the stairs. His boy scout training had taught him about heat principles and he was trying to gauge te heat on every floor as he did not want to walk into flames. Soon after only a few minutes or so the powerful stench of fuel began to burn his eyes and by the time he and Roselle had reached the 70th floor he was having difficulties breathing and temperatures were soaring.


The World Trade Center North Tower Stairwell with Deviation Rendering by Marco Crupi

Suddenly Michael heard a loud voice saying, Burn victim coming through" He pressed his body to the side walls as Roselle stood between his legs to allow some room. Michael's colleague David was also with Michael at this point and Michael asked David what he just saw, David replied that he just saw a woman who was so badly burnt she did not look human anymore, Michael knew he had to stay calm for Roselle and his own sake, If Michael began to panic Roselle would also become concerned and would lose the instinct to get out because she would turn her attentions to Michael himself and time would be wasted. Michael explains that some people may of thought it was easier for him to escape as he could not see the horrors of that building or the people, but he say's I have a good imagination and it must of been just as bad even if you are blind to have to face smoke fire and screams of people in the rooms and corridors.

Blind Sept. 11 survivor talks of how his guide dog saved him from World Trade Center collapse


Michael Hingson being interviewed at the 2002 AKC National Championship. Roselle was the recipient of the Award for Canine Excellence in the service dog category in 2002. 

Another wounded person appeared, Davis said that this person was worse than the other, She was in shock and walked like a Zombie, her clothes had partly been burned away and her skin was blistered and separating. Her blonde hair was covered in a grey slime. Moments later a woman became hysterical and stopped moving, She said I don't think were going to make it out? Michael and others gathered around her as a group and put there arms around her, They said it was okay that we all are going to get out, The hysterical woman began to stroke Roselle for comfort and that seemed to relax her somewhat. Michael's next thoughts were what if the lights go out/, If the lights go out the stairwells will be plunged into darkness, There was no real panic yet from Michaels standing point and he considered the notion that "New Yorkers" are a tough breed. Michael suddenly thought that he could be the guide in helping people out of the building, He shouted out not to worry and that he and Roselle would lead the way, In this light hearted moment people sore a funny and humorous side to the tragic events unfolding around them. 


Michael Hingson, survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, interacted with members of the ECU Honors College during his visit to campus. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Michael has now reached the 30th floor and in the situation he was in the lower you go down the less smoke and fire as smoke rises. Firemen began to pass Michael's group sweating and breathing heavily from the heavy equipment that they carried. On the 20th floor the floors became slippy from the sprinkler system as water cascaded down from higher levels. Michael was worried that Roselle might slip and was extra careful. It had only taken 20 minutes to journey down nearly 50 flights of stairs but now the progress had slowed considerably from the people all meeting at once. Michael has now reached the sixth floor but he was suffering  with tremendous pain in his legs that he thought they might give out on him. Michael wanted to call his wife "Karen" to tell her he was okay.

Michael reached the lobby area and a war zone just hit him, Fire fighters and FBI agents were everywhere helping survivors it was chaos. The descent had taken an hour almost exactly and David looked up to see that Tower 2 (South) was now on fire, the only reasonable explanation at that time was that the fire had jumped across from Tower one (North). Michael tried to phone his wife but couldn't get a connection, This was due to the many people still trapped calling loved ones to say goodbye. Suddenly a police officer starts screaming at the top of his voice to "Get Away" she's coming down the police officer screams out. Michael had made it to the outside pedestrian street and walkway the building began to collapse. The sound of breaking glass twisting metal and terrified screams will always haunt Michael something he will never forget he say's. It took just 10 seconds for the building to collapses into a pile of twisted and burning debris.



Michael say's the street felt like a trampoline, Davis shouts "oh my God" and starts running, Michael instantly picks up Roselle spins 180 degrees and start to run as fast as they can. No one was helping anyone at this stage it was every man for themselves as there simply was no time to help another. Everyone from close proximity to the North tower ran and ran from a chasing and huge debris swirl of dust and thick choking smoke concrete and anything else that was pulverized from the incredible crushing forces of the buildings materials. The huge swirl chased people up the street it had no intentions of stopping, Michael's lungs and throat filled with the dust and caused Michael to feel like he was drowning, Breathing became incredibly difficult but they kept running running for there lives. Roselle never gave up on her master she helped Michael to navigate the streets out of the dust plume.


Eventually Michael and Roselle reached the relative safety of a subway station. Michael was lucky but so many were not, Michael admits his survival was down to Roselle and the great team they made for each other. Michael's book Thunder Dog – the true story of a blind man, his dog and the triumph of trust at Ground Zero, published by Thomas Nelson, is available at all good outlets.


Alexandra Breuer's bulldog Napoleon was out walking with his master when he suddenly ran off. Alexandra at first did not realize why her dog had ran off and became angry at Napoleons disobedience. Alexandra from Michigan was walking her dog close to a lake and did not know that Napoleon had ran into the lake to save some kittens that were floating in a bag. Napoleon swam over and retrieved the bag but Alexandra at first thought it was just a bag of rubbish Napoleon had retrieved. She then heard meows and realized Napoleon had retrieved a bag of young kittens from the lake.There were six kittens inside but sadly two of them died, the other four survived and are doing well thanks to Napoleon. Alexandra say's Napoleon must of heard the cries for help and instinctively entered the water to rescue them as they were in danger. Alexandra say's her dog is a "champion" "Let me tell you if I wasn't worried about his weight he would get a couple of T-bone steaks right there but he's on a little diet," she added.


Kathie Vaughn 65 from Indianapolis is a paraplegic and is paralyzed from the weist down, Being an antiques dealer she regularly travels in her van and on one occasion she was driving to Atlanta for a show when a dangerous situation occurred. Suddenly Kathie heard a pop sound and could smell smoke from within her brand new van. She quickly pulled on over and noticed smoke belching from the engine department. A normal person would at this point simply have jumped out of the passenger door but Kathie had to gather the parts to her wheelchair as it required assembling. The fire was getting worse and Kathie knew that she was in trouble, She simply could not piece her wheelchair back together in time and she was starting to feel disoriented.


Person with Quadriplegia Driving an Accessible Van with an EMC Joystick 

I was diagnosed with C4 Incomplete ASIA B Quadriplegia in 2003. After years of research, I purchased the AEVIT 2.0 Joystick in 2008. I received my van (a Ford E250) 8 months later, and I have been driving since 2009. I transferred all of the electronics into the Toyota Sienna in 2011. I love this van.

Luckily Kathie had brought her beloved Rottweiler called "Eve" along with her for company and the dog immediately got to work by pulling Kathie from the truck with her strong jaws and 104 pound frame. Kathie fell out of the van onto the floor as Eve continued to pull her away from the dangerous smoke and flames. Kathie had pulled up along the Interstate 65 near Franklin and it is a very busy road, Eve has not stopped as she knows that she must drag Kathie further away from the burning vehicle, Eve pulls Kathie 20 feet more and manages to get her down into a drainage ditch. Just a few moments later the van exploded out and the van became a blaze of fire which would certainly of killed Kathie had she remained in the vehicle. The antiques were destroyed as the flames quickly crept through the passenger and cargo area. 


Eve pulled her owner 40 feet to safety away from the blaze

State trooper Mike Snider of the Indiana State Police was close by carrying out road checks when he was alerted by a trucker who had witnessed the burning vehicle, Mike's radio sounded out the words that some one needs help from the trucker who used his citizens band radio frequency to alert the state trooper. Mike rushed to the scene but unfortunately he was only carrying a basic fire extinguisher and was unable to extinguish the flames which were now at this point bellowing out of the vehicle. The trooper approached Kathie in the ditch and noticed Eve protecting her master from any dangers, Eve would not allow the trooper to help kathie out of the ditch and to his car as Eve was very protective of Kathie and then Eve pulled Kathie out of the ditch and over to the police car. Kathie said that Eve's heroics were second nature to her and Eve had not received any specific training for working with handicapped people.


"That's the true nature of the Rottweiler," she said. "They're very loyal and loving and will take care of their owners at all cost.
"She just loves me. She helps me all the time."
6 year old Eve also survived the terrible accident while only receiving burns to the pads of her feet. After firemen cleared the scene, Eve was awarded the Stillman Award for her bravery.

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In 2008 British businessman Peter Lee and wife Betty were sailing around the Caribbean on a around the world adventure with there 2 year old hunting dog called Kankunto. The weather had suddenly changed and the water had become choppy  when Mr Lee noticed a battered unmarked fishing boat speeding towards them. Mr Lee and his wife were only about two miles off the coast of Venezuela so had little to worry about. But as the boat became closer and closer Mr Lee realized that they were now in danger from Pirates, The boat came up alongside Mr Lee's yacht as the five armed Pirates attempt to climb aboard, Mr Lee instantly rams the pursuers boat in an attempt to knock some or all of them out of the boat. This caused one of the pirates to fire his weapon directly at Mr Lee but luckily the bullet missed and Mr Lee rammed the boat for a second time.


If you’re planning a Caribbean cruise this winter —especially anywhere near Venezuela — you’d be well served to stay in the know about pirate activity. Political and economic crises mean that some high seas and coastal areas are essentially controlled by pirates and smugglers. Nicaragua and Haiti, as well as the waters around Trinidad and Tobago, are also on the list of areas where caution should be exercised. 

“It’s criminal chaos, a free-for-all along the Venezuelan coast,” said an expert on organized crime. But not all pirates are after recreational sailors or motor yachts. Some are engaged in smuggling and illegal fishing. The perfect storm of criminal activity is being set off by Venezuela’s collapsing economy, and political upheavals in other countries.


Wife Betty with daughter Katie

Mr Lee recalls the ordeal with vivid memory as he explained that he was not going to give in that easily. Mr Lee say's I steered my boat into them broadside on and knocked the pirates leader off his feet at the moment he was about to jump on board. The impact caused the leader to fall back into the boat but this only infuriated the leader who then took a proper stance pulled his pistol out with both hands and shot at Mr Lee. The bullet whistled past his head missing him by inches, Mr Lee realized he would not be able to outrun the pirates boat as it was a lot faster than his. 


Kankunto the Hero Dog

Mr Lee and his wife Betty feared the worse as they braced themselves for what might happen, Five pirates mostly in there late 20's then boarded the yacht, once aboard the leader shouted loudly to his cronies that he wanted Mr Lee tied up tightly. Incredibly while all this commotion was going on Kankunto was watching from a distance, The pirates were unaware of Kankunto's presence but suddenly Kankunto decides to attack the pirates with all his might. Kankunto launches at the pirates furiously biting and snapping at them attacking them when ever he could.
One of the pirates pulled out a sharp blade and stabbed Kankunto between the shoulder blades using a gut hook knive. Even after being stabbed Kankunto did not stop attacking the pirates, One of the pirates then pulled out his pistol and shot the dog, with a mighty bang the bullet pierced one of Kankunto's legs. Mr Lee said that Kankunto had a real good go at the pirates and that he was a very brave dog even though Kankunto only weighs 50lb but thinks he is a lion. Kankunto was badly injured and did not continue to fight with the pirates instead he dragged himself under a table, The pirates however had not given up and now returned there attentions to Mr Lee and his wife. The pirates started to demand money but Mr Lee only had about £150 of local currency on board so they tried to tug off Betty's wedding ring.


Because the ring had never left her finger in 35 years of marriage the ring would not budge. As the pirate pulled blood and torn skin was evident and the pirates decided to abandon the attempt unless they cut her finger off. The pirates looked around for anything else of value they could take as Mr Lee wondered how long this ordeal would go on for, Mr Lee thought if I lie down and stay still don't do anything to upset the pirates they might hopefully leave when they had everything they wanted. It seemed like only a few seconds had passed when the pirates did flee the yacht and all was silent again.

Mrs Lee was suffering shock at this point and was convinced that the pirates had thrown her husband overboard. Suddenly Mr Lee appeared  “I hobbled back to the cockpit and sat on the steps leading down below and said, ‘Come on, old girl, get yourself together now and get me untied’. 

“This is what you have to do. I’m just an ordinary working man but I’m British as well.”
Now the time had come to check what had been taken and were surprised to find that the pirates had left almost empty handed, They had managed to take their communication equipment but they were unable to remove the GPS navigation system, This stroke of luck allowed the Lee's to continue on with their journey, They set sail for Trinidad which was their original destination. Mr Lee said he had patched up the dog’s stab wound and removed the bullet, which had lodged near its back legs.

“It was not that hard. The bullet almost came out on its own,’ he said. ‘The vet has now been around and the dog is almost back on its feet.”


Trakr born in 1994 and died in April of 2009 was a German Shepherd police dog who along with his handler, Canadian police officer James Symington discovered the last survivor of the September 11th attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001. For his accomplishments, Trakr was named one of history's most heroic animals by Time Magazine. In 2008 Symington won an essay contest sponsored by BioArts International to find the world's most "Cloneworthy dog" as a result of which Trakr was cloned, producing five puppies.

Symington was one of the founders of the canine unit for the Halifax Regional Police, on which he served for Thirteen years. His police dog Trakr was initially trained in the Czech Republic and joined the Halifax Regional Police in 1995 at age 14 months. Trakr worked for the department for six years, finding over $1 million in contraband, as well as finding missing people and helping in arresting hundreds of criminals. He was prematurely retired from the force in May 2001 as retribution against Symington for preventing senior officials in his department from enacting a policy to euthanize Trakr and all retiring K9s.


After Trakr's retirement, Symington took a medical leave from the force for an ongoing elbow injury as well as occupational stress caused by a hostile work environment that was triggered when Symington prevented the implementation of the policy to euthanize all K9's on retirement.
Symington and his dog saw the search and rescue operations in New York City on television on September 11, 2001 and drove with their friend Corporal Joe Hall for 15 hours from Prospect Bay Nova Scotia to Manhattan to help out arriving the morning of September 12th. Trakr found a "live hit" (Signs of Life) under the rubble at approximately 6 am or 7 am. Firefighters dug in the spot, and found Genelle Guzman, the last of the 20 survivors who had been inside the buildings when they collapsed under 30 feet of unstable debris.

James Symington with Trakr


Guzman, an assistant with the Port Authority of New York, had climbed from the 64th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center and was on the 13th Floor of the South Tower when it collapsed. Genelle was trapped for 26 hours in an air pocket before she was found. Trakr dug through over 30 feet of unstable debris to find the very last survivor of the World Trade Center.

Genelle Guzman-McMillan last survivor of World Trade Centre

A few days after 9/11, FEMA sent its own cameras down into the ruins of the World Trade Center, filming for over 8 months and getting images no one else was able to get. CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Bob Orr reports.

On September 14th, Trakr collapsed from chemical and smoke inhalation, burns and exhaustion and was treated with intravenous fluids. After Trakr was released the next day, Symington, Hall and Trakr returned home to Canada. Officials from the Halifax police saw Symington on television, and suspended him with pay from the force for participating in rescue efforts in NY without permission and while on leave. He was later given the opportunity to return to work, but declined under the existing work conditions. His contract was terminated and he sued the police force over the incident. The lawsuit was still pending as of 2008. In 2005, Dr. Jane Goodall honored Symington and Trakr with an "Extraordinary Service to Humanity Award" for their efforts, and widely considered "heroes".

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Trakr with Owner and Best Friend, James Symington

Trakr and his progeny have been prfiled by media worldwide, including CNN, CBS Early Show, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Dog World and many more. They also featured as one of People magazine's top stories of 2009.


After leaving the force, Symington and Trakr moved to the Los Angeles California area where Symington took up acting. Symington appeared often under the name Peter James and starred in a number of television soap operas including Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, The L Word, and The Young and the Restless, as well as working as a stunt double, fight coordinator, and small part film actor. In his later years, Trakr suffered from degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease and lost the use of his hind legs, Some experts attributed the condition to inhaling smoke at the World Trade Center site. Symington took Trakr to Pawspice, a California end-of-life organization that serves as the equivalent of a hospice for pets and an animal oncology consultation service. Pawspice outfitted Trakr with a cart so that he could power himself with his front legs.


Shortly before Trakr's death, Symington entered "Best Friends Again" (also called the Golden Clone Giveaway), an essay contest sponsored by BioArts International, one of the world's largest biotech companies offering pet cloning, to find the world's most "clone-worthy" dog. Symington's essay was chosen out of a field of 200 others, impressing the company CEO with the story of Trakr's police dog abilities and the World Trade Center rescue. BioArts sent samples of Trakr's DNA to South Korea veterinarian Hwang Woo-Suk and his laboratory. Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, which had performed the first-ever dog cloning in 2005. The cloning, performed in Yongin, Korea involved inserting the DNA into five "surrogate" egg cells, each of which was implanted into a different female dog. In June 2009 five clone puppies, Trustt, Solace, Valor, Prodigy, and Deja Vu, were all delivered to Symington. At the time, BioArts was selling cloning services privately for $144,000 per puppy.


James Symington poses with Trakr's cloned children, Trustt, Solace, Valor, Prodigy, and Deja Vu.

Some animal welfare groups including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, criticized or questioned the cloning effort  over concerns that cloned animals may suffer health problems.
As of January 2011 the clones were being trained by Symington as search and rescue dogs.

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Adak is a 13 year German Shepherd. His longevity and accomplishments as an explosive detection dog are unmatched. During his career he has provided support to dignitaries, celebrities and events across more than 10 states and three countries. He was a Contract Working Dog (CWD) for the US State Department (DoS) in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Army, Ft. McCoy and for a private business, Dogs for Defense Incorporated (D4D).
Adak’s 1st assignment was in Iraq in 2006. Adak was assigned to support the US Embassy and dignitaries. Adak performed a sweep of the Bagdad Central Station prior to the arrival of a dignitary. While performing the sweep Adak alerted to a vehicle in the area, canceling the event.


On January 14, 2008, the Kabul Serena Hotel was subjected to a complex terror attack. During the attack numerous guests were trapped in the hotel. Adak was the first K-9 team to arrive, with terrorists still inside the hotel. Adak led a team of Americans who went room to room inside while terrorists were still active. Adak came across dismembered, deceased victims during his search and performed flawlessly. Over 20 people were evacuated, a total of six people died, including one American. In 2009, Adak was conducting a sweep of the Ministry of Agriculture when he had an alert. The EOD unit arrived and identified the threat as a mortar shell. Working for D4D gave constant opportunities to do unique detection work across the US until he was 13. His transition from war to family member was incredible.

2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards - Military Dog Category – Adak


Ginny was a seventeen year old schnauzer Siberian husky mix from Long Beach, Long Island and owned by Philip Gonzalez. Mr Gonzalez was a former steamfitter and adopted Ginny in 1990 in an effort to help alleviate his depression which was brought on by an accident at work. Surprisingly on the third day Ginny discovered a stray cat in a vacant lot and this was the beginning of her exploits as a cat rescuer.


Gonzalez never trained Ginny in any way she just had this natural talent in finding stray cats. Ginny once threw herself against a vertical pipe at a construction site to topple it and reveal the kittens trapped inside. Another time she ignored the cuts on her paws as she dug through a box of broken glass to find an injured cat inside. Gonzalez estimates that Ginny saved approximately eight-hundred homeless and sick cats during her lifetime. She not only rescued them from the fields and streets where she lived, but also from hard-to-find places such as drain pipes, Dumpsters, and the glove compartments of cars.
Normally cats are fearful of dogs, but Gonzalez insists that cats came running up to Ginny.

Ginny the dog has been rescuing stray cats for 12 years, but his first rescue was her beloved owner Philip.

Ginny was adopted at the pound & when her owner took her for a walk Ginny would be attracted to a stray cat. Then they had to find a home for Ginny's "babies" so they took some of the cats home to take care of them & take them to the vet..... Of coarse they cant take all of the cats into their home so every night they would go out to feed the cats around, sometimes they stayed up all night.... Ginny had rescued over 1,000 cats in her life time & is now remembered in books & now in the video above. Ginny was born in 1988 and lived on Long Beach Island. Before Ginny was adopted, people found her locked in a closet with no food or water but still fighting for her pups. She was later taken to an adoption shelter where Philip Gonzalez was looking for a dog. He wanted a Doberman but they didn't have one on the adoption floor. Just when he was about to leave, the volunteer who worked there said she had two dogs in the back recovering from being spayed. There was a Doberman and Ginny. Philip wasn't interested in scruffy looking Ginny so he went to the Doberman’s cage. The volunteer insisted that he take Ginny for a walk. On the walk Philip got used to her and had a good time. When they came back Philip was ready to sign the adoption papers.


Three days after Philip adopted Ginny they went for another walk. When Ginny saw a cat she ran around the corner after the cat and the leash slipped from Philip`s hand. Philip thought Ginny and the cat where going to fight, then Ginny sat down next to the cat and started licking her and the cat started purring. Philip thought it was a coincidence. When Philip took Ginny for a walk again the same thing happened, Ginny dashed away. When Philip caught up to her she was frantically sniffing and scratching at a pipe. When the pipe fell, five kittens came out. She had rescued the kittens!

A few weeks later Ginny and Philip went to the shelter to donate dog and cat treats. While Philip was giving the treats, Ginny went around the corner to the cat kennels. When Philip found Ginny she was begging in front of a kennel. When Philip looked into the kennel he saw that the cat had only one eye. He knew that Ginny wouldn't settle for just one cat, she would want more. But Philip took the cat home anyway.

The next week Ginny and Philip went to the shelter again. Ginny did her same begging routine and Philip once again noticed that Ginny found a cat that needed rescuing. A few days after Philip adopted the newly found cat, he discovered the cat was deaf. Ginny had a wonderful instinct for finding cats in need. Ginny didn't just save cats, she also saved a man once. When Ginny realized a blind man had stepped off the curb into ongoing traffic, Ginny ran in front of him and started barking until the man turned back.


 In Ginny`s final days Philip stayed next to her and kept her company. Ginny left the world on August 25, 2005. In her lifetime Ginny saved more than 900 cats. Ginny now has a fan club, Ginny TV, and the Ginny Fund. There are two books about Ginny. One is The Dog Who Rescues Cats and the other is The Blessing of the Animals. Even though Ginny`s gift was natural for her and instinctual, other dogs have the opportunity to learn these same traits through training.


A cat-lover himself, Gonzalez rises every day at 2 a.m. and makes the rounds of nineteen feral cat colonies where he feeds approximately 320 cats. Although Ginny is gone, this will not change, but he will have to soldier on by his lonesome because none of his three remaining canines share Ginny's fondness for cats. At one time he kept as many as sixty-seven felines but now he is down to eighteen.
Her owner, Philip Gonzalez of Long Beach, said Thursday that he has tried to train other dogs to rescue cats like Ginny, but “They just didn’t have it.” The cats do miss Ginny now that he has passed we all do.
Ginny was praised enthusiastically Nov. 19, 2005, at the Westchester Cat Show, where she was named Cat of the Year in 1998 for her uncanny skill and bravery in finding and rescuing endangered felines. She died in August at age 17.


Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman's chest. The dog's owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life. Debbie Parkhurst, 45, of Calvert told the Cecil Whig she was eating an apple at her home Friday when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but it didn't work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved.


"The next think I know, Toby's up on his hind feet and he's got his front paws on my shoulders,'' she recalled. "He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest.''
That's when the apple dislodged and Toby started licking her face to keep her from passing out, she said.
"I literally have pawprint-shaped bruises on my chest. I'm still a little hoarse, but otherwise, I'm OK,'' Parkhurst said. "The doctor said I probably wouldn't be here without Toby,'' said Parkhurst, a jewelry artist. "I keep looking at him and saying 'You're amazing.'''


His full name is Keasaun Beethoven's Fifth but most people know him as Kaze. This Alaskan Malamute spent his first few years as a sled dog in competitions. Unfortunately, his owner was injured in a sledding accident and Kaze was placed in a shelter. Unable to be adopted, the sad decision was made to humanly euthanize him. Just days before he was to be put down at the shelter, he was rescued by Daryl Lee of Castro Valley. "Someone was going to throw this dog away," said Daryl. Daryl recognized the dog's exceptional abilities and thought that he might make a good search and rescue dog. He enrolled Kaze in the training program at the California Rescue Dog Association, one of the largest and oldest volunteer K-9 Search and Rescue organizations in the country.

Kaze: California SAR (San Francisco, California) Kaze is the only Alaskan Malamute certified as a rescue dog in California. This former sled dog is now a life-saver who performs rescues in the California wilderness. Haci: Hungarian Herder (Székesfehérvár, Hungary) Haci is a Pumi, a traditional Hungarian herding breed. This herding champ makes sure her flock stays off the road and out of the neighboring corn fields. Paugan: Speech Therapist (Ottawa, Ontario) Paugan is the first dog to be recognized by the National Speech and Language Association. He and his owner, speech language therapist Julianne Labreche, work with stroke victims. Paugan’s warmth, goofiness and patience motivates them to keep trying.



It is believed that Kaze is one of the first Alaskan Malamutes to be certified. Most search and rescue organizations use German Shepherd and Australian Shepherds, which are known to have the keenest sense of smell.
A woman in her late 20s was reported missing. Her family believed that she may have tried to commit suicide. The Contra Costa Sheriff's Department began their search, but soon realized that they needed help. They decided to put the newly certified Kaze to work. Within ten minutes, Kaze led Daryl and the other rescuers to a bridge near the San Pablo Dam. "He ran down under a bridge that crossed a creek," explain Daryl. "It looked like he was going to jump in and get wet."
Kaze had found the missing woman, who was now in a coma. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she remained in a coma for nearly a week. She has since recovered and is back at home with her family.


The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff’s Canine Unit has been in existence since 2002.  There are currently five canine teams (dog and handler) working in the county. Four are assigned to the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County, and one is assigned to the town of Danville.

The canines are originally trained in a variety of dog sport work in Europe, where they are purchased and imported to the United States. Once they are purchased by the Office of the Sheriff, they are matched with a Deputy Sheriff where they they begin extensive training as a team. This training continues throughout the teams’ careers.
All of the canines are cross trained, which means they are trained to detect the odor of humans and narcotics. The human odor detection constitutes trailing, area search, building search, article search and apprehension.  Narcotics detection is the ability to detect and locate narcotics of the following varieties: cocaine, methamphetamine (by extension ecstacy), heroin and marijuana.

The canines are live and work with the handlers until they retire when the handlers are given the option to purchase the canine from the department.

It has been reported that the woman had less than an hour to live and if Kaze had not found her so quickly, the result would have been disastrous. On only his second day on the job, Kaze became a hero, going from death row dog to a search and rescue success.

Watch K9 Senna in action for her weekly training with Contra costa County Sheriffs and other agencies.


Zoey is a five pound long haired Chihuahua which is tiny by dog standards but Zoey is a true giant among canines. The story begins on a hot sunny day in July in Masonville, Colorado. Monty and Denise Long had previous kept a chihuahua but it had recently passed away, There son gave them another Chihuahua to replace the one that had died, Booker West a young one year old boy was over at his grandparents house for a visit, He was in the garden crawling and exploring as children do. Booker loved water and had crawled on over to a bird bath and began to happily splash and play as he giggled with excitement. 


Chihuahua Bravery - Earlier this month a small pub in Reading was saved from a burglary by the landlord’s miniature Chihuahua. Erik the pooch has made headlines across the national media, so we sent our reporter Charlotte Winfield to meet the loyal pet who scared two burglars off the premises.

Monty the grandfather was doing some garden work and Zoey was also in the garden enjoying the sunshine, Suddenly without warning Zoey bolted from his side and then let out a loud yelp. Monty immediately ran on over to investigate and quickly realized that Booker and Zoey were in trouble. A three foot rattlesnake had been watching Booker play and was now moments away from striking at the child. Zoey came between Booker and the snake in the nick of time intercepting the first strike and because Zoey refused to move the snake continued to unleash bite after bite onto the brave dogs head. The snake had coiled it's body and was perched on a rock as the grandfather ran over to help. Monty grabbed the boy out of harms way then grabbed a pipe which he used to kill the snake.


General Description: The Prairie Rattlesnake is South Dakota’s only species of venomous snake. Prairie Rattlesnakes are a large, heavy-bodied species of snake, with adults ranging from 36–50 inches (91.4–127.0 cm) in length. The background coloration is light gray, tan, or light brown with pronounced dorsal dark brown blotches ringed in white running the length of the body. These blotches of fade towards the tail and turn into bands. Smaller, often lighter, blotches run along the sides. Two white lines occur on each side of the face: one runs between the eye and the nostril and along the upper lip and the other begins behind the eye and runs down the neck. Prairie Rattlesnakes have elliptical pupils and a single heat pit located between the eye and the nostril that allows individuals to use thermal detection of prey and predators. The belly is off-white or light yellow and unmarked. Scales on this species are heavily keeled, giving individuals a rough texture, and the anal scale is not divided. Juvenile coloration is similar to adult coloration. Many large non-venomous snakes are confused with the Prairie Rattlesnake because they often vibrate their tail (that makes a rattlesnake-like noise when it hits dry leaves or sticks), however, Prairie Rattlesnakes have a true rattle on the end of their tails. This rattle is remarkably energetically efficient and is made of keratin. Rattlesnakes are born with a “button” and are unable to make noise with their rattle until they have their first shed. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot age a rattlesnake by counting the number of segments on the rattle. Rattlesnakes gain segments every time they shed their skin, which can be multiple times per year (depending on how much they grow). These keratinized rattles also get brittle, crack, and break off through time.

Behavior: Prairie Rattlesnakes feed primarily on rodents, but will also consume birds and lizards. These are ambush predators and will wait until prey move within striking distance before envenomating prey with hemotoxic (tissue degrading) venom. As with all other rattlesnakes, Prairie Rattlesnakes have two large, hinged fangs that are folded at the top of the mouth when at rest. It is commonly believed that juvenile rattlesnakes are more dangerous than adults due to their perceived inability to control the amount of venom that they inject, however, there is no evidence to support these claims. Prairie Rattlesnakes have cryptic coloration that can make them difficult to locate when they are not moving. As such, their first line of defense is their camouflage coloration. However, when disturbed, Prairie Rattlesnakes will rattle their tail and will strike if continued to be provoked. Individuals will often den in the same hibernacula every winter and densities when denning can be quite high. 

Reproduction: Mating often takes place in late spring and early summer after individuals have emerged from hibernation. Males will compete in combat rituals where individuals will intertwine with one another attempting to push the other down to the ground, with the winner having access to mate with a nearby female. Females give birth to 8–17 live young and will remain with juveniles for several days after being born and exhibit maternal parental care.

Habitat: Prairie Rattlesnakes can be found in grasslands, prairies, alpine meadows, and spruce forests throughout their range where they are often associated with rocky outcrops or prairie dog towns, which provide cover and are where individuals overwinter.

Species Range: This species can be found throughout the western Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains from west Texas north to southern Canada. An isolated population in the Loess Hills of northwest Iowa represents the easternmost population of this species.

South Dakota Range: Prairie Rattlesnakes are abundant and frequently encountered throughout western South Dakota (west of the Missouri River). Few isolated records of individuals also occur along the Missouri River in southeastern South Dakota, but likely represent translocated individuals rather than established populations.


The snake had not retreated and was ready to continue it's attack, Zoey on the other hand received a one inch scar from the attack. She was rushed to the vets as her head had swollen to the size of a large grapefruit said Denise Long the boy's grandmother. "You couldn't tell where her eyes were ... just this little button that you could tell was her nose."
The vet treated Zoey with antivenin and blood plasma. She has since recovered from the snakebite. It took four days for Zoey to be downgraded from critical condition, and today she is back to her active, loving and playful self, acting as if nothing had ever happened.
Denise Long said she hated to see her dog get bitten, but she's glad it was the dog and not her grandson. So is the toddler's mom.

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Denise Long with Baby Booker West and Grandfather Monty celebrate the hero award given to Zoey the Chihuahua for fighting off a Rattlesnake and saving the child's life.

"I was terrified," said Lynsie West. "I used to go out on my four-wheeler all the time and I'd see them constantly (snakes), but it never scared me as much as it does now. Oooh, it just gives me the chills." Monty Long said that after everything settled down and the dog was treated by the vet, he had time to stop and think about what happened, and what almost happened.
"That's when the cold chills went up my neck, for about two hours," he said.
Long said he'll be keeping a closer eye on his own back yard from now on. He said this isn't the first time there's been a snakebite on his property.
"About four years ago a rattler bit Cherokee (his painted horse) on the nose," Marty Long said.


“She got in between Booker and the snake, and that’s when I heard her yipe,” Monty Long, the boy’s grandfather, said. “These little bitty dogs, they just don’t really get the credit they deserve,” Booker’s grandma, Denise Long, told the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald. Mr. and Mrs. Long were delighted to receive the Shining World Hero Award on behalf of Zoey. In addition to the beautiful crystal plaque, were two lovely jackets with “Hero Zoey” imprinted on the back, a cozy dog bed which fit her size just right, vegetarian dog food and treats, as well as some of Master’s recent books and DVDs for Zoey’s caregivers. Mr. and Mrs. Long were very happy that Zoey received all the recognition, and collected pictures, articles and memorabilia, to one day give to Booker, to always remember Zoey’s story… the itty bitty Chihuahua with a huge heart, that saved his life!
The quick-thinking Long placed a hose in the horse's nose before it swelled shut. That action, and another call to the vet, helped save the horse.
The Longs said they understand that snakes are part of the landscape where they live, in the foothills west of Loveland. They said they're glad that Zoey lives there too.
"She's not your typical Chihuahua." Denise Long said. "She's not mean. She's just a sweet little dog."

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