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article imagePurina Animal Hall of Fame celebrates four new inductees Special

By KJ Mullins     May 6, 2013 in World
Toronto - Pets are part of the family. For some lucky families pets are also the family hero. Today at Paws Way in Toronto the 45th Purina Animal Hall of Fame honoured four amazing dogs who saved the lives of their owners.
"How do you tell a dog that they are a hero?"- Andrea Larocque
Bella, Snickers, Vicious and Teak joined the other 159 amazing pets who came before to become part of Purina's Animal Hall of Fame. For the fifth year the event took place at Paw's Way located on Queens Quay in Toronto.
Hosted by CP24 Breakfast host Steve Anthony who is a committed pet owner the event tugged at the hearts of all in the audience between Anthony's lively performance. Anthony owns only three dogs and three cats because the city bylaws won't let him own more. Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, MTV, actor Patrick McKenna, Mary Siemiesz, Purina, and Contable Tara McLorn presented awards to this year's winning dogs.
Snickers, a Border Collie/Pointer cross, was at home with his owner Gregory Gould last March in the early morning hours when Gould suffered a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) attack. Snickers had only been with Gregory for a month when he collapsed on the floor. Knowing that she had to do something Snickers broke a window and opened the back door of their home to alert the neighbours. For two long hours Snickers barked and paced in the next door neighbour's driveway until they called the police. Contable Rob Garnett knew this was not normal behaviour and went to check on Gould. Seeing the man unmoving on the floor through the window Garnett called for EMS and assisted the man. Doctors later said that Snickers dedication saved Gould's life in the nick of time.
"I would like to thank Officer Garnett," Jeff Gould said today while beaming down at Snickers, "And I would like to thank my Dad for always rescuing dogs. What comes around goes around. Way to go Dad!" Jeff also said that Snickers told to say, "Go Leafs go!"
It was a warm night last August in Trail, B.C. when Angie Prime finished talking to her husband on the phone. She, two puppies and Vicious, a 12-year-old Border Collie/Lab cross, were getting ready to go to bed when Angie spotted a shadow moving in the other room.
"For a split second I stared into the eyes of a cougar before it attacked," Prime said remembering the night. Vicious sprang into action attacking the cat and chasing it into the wildness. As Prime screamed into the night for Vicious to come home neighbours alerted authorities. Vicious returned home unharmed. Conversation officers later said that the cougar was an older female who was starving. Angie Prime, a petite woman, would have not stood a chance had it not been for her hero Vicious.
Bella with Chris Larocque
Bella with Chris Larocque
Five years ago Chris Larocque's live was changed when he was in a head-on collision with a woman who had been texting. Today he deals with severe motor disabilities that cause chronic pain. Two years ago he gave his beloved wife Andrea a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy to thank her for all of her help while he was recovering. Bella quickly became one of the Nova Scotia family.
On November 13, 2012 Chris and Bella were home alone during the lunch hour. Chris was heating up wings and fries for a snack. While checking on the meal holding a tea towel Chris' ankle gave way and he fell, knocking his head on the oven. The tea towel fell onto the oven's elements catching fire.
Chris was able to call 9-1-1 on his cell phone and advised to get out of the house. It was only after ending the call that Chris discovered that he couldn't get up. Calling for Bella Chris hoped he could get his dog out to safety. It was Bella however that dragged Chris out of the house and stayed with him until help was there.
Andrea was driving to the house in fear thinking that Chris was still in the blaze. Her eyes tearing, "It's been a rough five years." When she arrived at the home she found it was destroyed but Chris and Bella were alive.Chris' doctor said that it would have taken Chris too long to stand up to survive the fire. "If Bella had not been there...," Andrea couldn't finish the sentence.
For three years Vancouver Constable Derrick Gibson and Teak, an eight-year-old German Shepard, have been a powerful team. On January 11 the two responded to a gas station robbery in process. The suspect fled the scene running to a popular market area that was crowded with shoppers. Constable Gibson shouted to the man that he was under arrest and to stop or he would send in his dog. The suspect continued to flee. Teak took off in pursuit tackling him by biting the suspect's leg. From a distance Gibson and fellow officers saw that the suspect was hitting Teak, what they didn't see was the knife that was cutting into Teak over and over.
Teak never let go despite being stabbed repeatedly nor did he howl in pain. Constable Gibson rushed Teak to the veterinary emergency room to repair the 12 inch long slash to his neck and another 3-inch wide and 3-inch deep wound.
Amazingly Teak survived two operations. Sadly Officer Gibson confided that during his recovery it was discovered that Teak had a cancerous mass. Today Teak is in the battle of his life undergoing chemo.
"Teak is the best partner I ever had," Gibson said of his retired best friend, "Teak is in the battle of his life. He had my back for eight years, now I have his back. We're going to get through this together."
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