For more than four decades, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame™ has honoured an elite group of pets and service dogs for their extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery, which have saved human lives. From sensing deadly medical conditions to saving their owners from wild animal attacks, more than 150 inductees have been recognized including 125 dogs, 25 cats - and one horse!
Since 1992, the program expanded to specifically recognize the key role of service dogs in protecting the public and providing independence, comfort and hope to so many Canadians. To date, 16 service dogs have been honoured for their acts of extreme bravery and courage.
New pet heroes are inducted annually into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame™ at a private ceremony in the spring.
The bond we share with pets can be lifesaving and inspiring. Come and learn about all the pet and service dog Inductees at PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre located at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, and the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame™. Open year-round, general admission is free.
The five 2011 Purina Animal Hall of Fame™ Inductees join
146 heroic animals. Here are their stories.
A lovable Whippet with a big heart, Moose joined the Sararas family at six weeks of age. The Sararas family had researched a lot of different breeds, and finally decided upon a Whippet as their first family dog, because of their intelligent nature. Little did they know that they would soon find out just how extraordinarily smart Moose was.
One sunny afternoon in April 2010, after dropping off her son at school, Jolene Sararas returned home to spend the day with her three-year-old daughter, Alexis. Keeping the house door open, Jolene went inside to quickly load and start the dishwasher, while Alexis played with Moose in the family's fenced-in backyard. Jolene was planning to join them shortly, but within a few minutes, Moose ran into the house, looked at Jolene in an odd way, and then ran back outside again. Jolene thought this behaviour was strange, but brushed it off, thinking Moose didn't mean anything by it. Seconds later, Moose ran into the house and again gave Jolene an odd look before running back outside. Once in the backyard, Moose started barking and jumping furiously, and this uncharacteristic behaviour definitely got Jolene's attention. She walked out into the backyard to see what had upset Moose, and to her horror, found Alexis with her neck caught in their backyard wire gate.
The Sararas' back gate didn't always latch properly, so as a safety precaution they had added a bungee cord outside of the gate to help keep it closed. Alexis had tried to push through the closed gate when it quickly swung back shut, pinning her throat in the narrow gap between the two metal bars. When Jolene found her, Alexis was on the ground with her body outside the gate and her head locked just inside it. Jolene frantically ran to her daughter, and immediately freed her from the gate. When she tried to revive Alexis, she wouldn't open her eyes and was barely conscious; her body limp in Jolene's arms. In a panic, Jolene called her husband Terry at work, to come home, followed by a desperate call to 911. When Terry and the fire department arrived, Alexis had regained consciousness, but was still having trouble breathing. She was put on oxygen and taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital for observation, where she made a full recovery. While she did receive severe bruising on her neck as a result of the incident, Alexis luckily suffered no permanent injuries.
If it had not been for Moose, Jolene and Terry firmly believe their young daughter would not be alive today. Moose is no longer considered an “ordinarily smart” Whippet in the Sararas household. They now call him “Moose the Wonder Dog,” the family hero who helped save Alexis' life.
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