Purina knows that pets can show remarkable intelligence and motivation to help the people they love in times of need. That’s why for the past 49 years we’ve honoured Canada’s most amazing pet heroes in the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.
In 2017, for the first time ever, we travelled to the hometown of each inductee to surprise them with the news and capture their stories. They were also awarded with a medal of honour, a year supply of Purina pet food, and $5,000 to help move on with their lives.
Meet @PurinaCanada’s 2017 real life #PetHeroes. Watch, enjoy and share their stories!
Following a horseback riding accident that left Becky Jo’s owner Tracy unconscious, Becky Jo returned to the house to alert Tracy’s husband. She was able to lead him 5 km to where Tracy lay bleeding and badly hurt. According to doctors, had Tracy been left bleeding for 10 minutes longer she would have lost her life that day. LEARN MORE >>
Leo, just a puppy at the time, was able to alert his owner Brittany to a fire in her apartment when the alarms did not go off. His keen intuition to recognize the dangerous nature of the fire – new sights, sounds and smells he had never encountered before – is what ultimately led 30 building residents to safety. LEARN MORE >>
When Grace slipped and broke her hip while walking her Golden Retriever Skylar in the woods on a cold December afternoon, Skylar wouldn’t leave her side. That is until a car came down a nearby road, and Skylar ran off with one of Grace’s mittens in his mouth to signal that help was needed. Over a year later, Grace has physically recovered – but never forgets how close she came to losing her life. LEARN MORE >>
According to Ragen T.S. McGowan, a Senior Scientist in the Behaviour Group at Purina, dogs that are closely bonded with their human companions often show motivation to help them during times of need. Studies have shown that dogs are excellent problem-solvers, and in fact can respond vocally and through their own body language to communicate their goals. Border Collie Cross Becky Jo alerting and leading Tracy’s husband over 5 km to where Tracy had been dragged by her horse is a great example of this amazing capacity to communicate.
Dogs are also able to use their heightened sense of smell and hearing to come to our rescue. The fact that Skylar ran to retrieve his owner Grace’s mitten to bring to her neighbor Mike could be attributed to the fact that dogs communicate messages to each other through scent. From Skylar’s perspective, the best way for him to signal Mike about Grace was to bring him an object that smells like her!
A dog’s keen sense of smell can also alert them to subtle chemical changes in their environment before we can detect it. That is how puppy Leo detected the apartment fire, warning his owner Brittany in time to save all 30 building residents when the alarms didn’t go off.