If you’re ever in need of urgent help, you might wish you had Badger, Bella, Sakko and Nettle by your side. These four are Canadian canines who have gone out of their way to rescue their owners and strangers from life-threatening emergencies; proving the age old adage that dogs are truly man’s best friend. On May 4, Purina honoured the animal heroes by inducting them into its Animal Hall of Fame at the 47th annual event in Toronto.
So, you’re probably wondering what these adorable dogs did. Well, we’re about to tell you, but first you’re going to need to grab a box of tissues. These stories are about heartbreak and triumph, so brace yourself. First up:
Badger the Lab-Rottweiler from Elgin, O.N.
It was -20°C outside and Derik Hodgson (pictured) was lying on a frozen lake with a broken leg, without a jacket or cell phone in hand. The 71-year-old retiree had run out of his cabin to capture some photos of eagles, but he ended up in this unfortunate situation instead. Hodgson tried calling for help, but being in a secluded area, knew no one would hear him. Thankfully, Badger, the dog he rescued 10 years earlier, was by his side. Hodgson grabbed onto the dog’s collar and yelled, “Mush, Badger, mush” and off they both went for 400 metres. Badger got his owner all the way to the cabin door at which point Hodgson was able to get inside and call 911 for help.
Bella the Anatolian Shepherd from Windsor, O.N.
Rob Sheardown (pictured) swears up and down that his adopted dog Bella is the most obedient dog on the planet. So, he was more than perplexed when she refused to get into the elevator of his building on a November day in 2014. Bella kept tugging at the leash, pulling him towards the lobby area instead. After trying to get her to obey for several minutes, Sheardown gave in and let Bella lead the way, stopping behind one of the lobby couches. Saying that he was surprised by what he found is an understatement: lying on the floor was an old man having a heart attack. As Sheardown called for help, Bella stayed by the man’s side until paramedics came.
Sako the King Shepard from Kanaka Bar, B.C.
When 16-year-old Joseph Phillips-Garcia hopped into a car with his aunt, cousin, friend and dog Sako, little did he know that his life was about to change. While on their way to meet other family members, their car suddenly lost control on the road, rolling down a steep embankment into the woods. Joseph and Sako were thrown from the vehicle and, unfortunately, were the only survivors. The teen was stranded in the woods for two days. Suffering from a broken femur and collar bone, Joseph went in and out of consciousness and could hear coyotes nearby. Sako slept on top of him to keep him warm and drove the coyotes away. Before rescuers found Joseph, Sako even helped drag him to a nearby creek so he could drink water.
Nettle the Yellow Labrador from Cambridge, B.C.
Two-year-old Nettle has rescued 12-year-old twins Terry and Beata Bordman on more than one occasion. The twins suffer from two life-threatening conditions: Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac disease. Their parents have to constantly keep track of Terry and Beata’s blood sugar levels, which becomes super hard to do at night because, obviously, they’re sleeping. That’s where Nettle, who is a diabetic alert dog comes in. Late one night, when everyone was deep in slumber, she raced into the adults’ bedroom to alert them that Jade was suffering a serious diabetic low. Since then she’s helped the twins numerous times and they can’t seem to thank her enough.