Belle the Diabetic Alert Dog
A US dog has won an award for saving her owner's life by dialling a phone number that alerted emergency services to her owner's diabetic seizure.
Belle the beagle triggered a call to an ambulance crew by biting on her owner, Kevin Weaver's, mobile phone.
The dog was trained to detect potential diabetic attacks by licking and sniffing Mr Weaver's nose to check his blood sugar levels and pawing him.
Belle resorted to dialling for help when Mr Weaver fell unconscious.
The dog used her teeth to press the number nine key, which the phone was programmed to interpret as a "911" call to emergency services.
Ambulance workers answered the phone and, hearing nothing but barking at the end of the line, rushed to the caller's house in the city of Ocoee in Florida state.
The dog is the first animal to receive the Vita Wireless Samaritan Award.
"I am convinced that if Belle wasn't with me that morning, I wouldn't be alive today," Mr Weaver said.
"Belle is more than just a life-saver. She's my best friend."
June 20, 2006 BBC News
Sangeeta saving her family from the Tsunami
'That dog dragged me out'
January 3, 2005 - 6:03PM
Sangeeta, a mother of three boys, looks down on her eldest son, Dinakaran, seated, and the dog that saved his life, Selvakumar.
"Run away!" the husband screamed from a rooftop after he spotted the colossal waves.
His wife Sangeeta grabbed her two youngest sons and hoped that the third and oldest - 7-year-old Dinakaran - would outrun the tsunami churning toward her home.
But Dinakaran didn't follow. He headed for the safest place he knew, the small family hut just 40 metres from the seashore.
Sangeeta thought she would never see him again. But he was saved by the family dog.
While water lapped at Sangeeta's heels as she rushed up a hill, the scruffy dog named Selvakumar ducked into the hut after Dinakaran.
Nipping and nudging, he did everything in his canine power to get the boy up the hill.
Sangeeta, who like many south Indians only uses one name, had no idea of the drama unfolding below.
Once she had crossed the main road to safety she collapsed into tears, screaming over the loss of her eldest son.
"I had heard from others that the wall of my house had collapsed, I felt sure that my child had died," said the 24-year-old mother.
Selvakumar looks pretty much like every other dog in the village. He hardly ever barks and lets the three boys climb all over him and pull his tail without protest. At night, he joins the rest of the family and sleeps among them, no matter how may times they throw him out.
Most days, the dog escorts Dinakaran to and from school, spending the rest of the day playing with the other two boys, or begging for food.
Sangeeta's brother-in-law gave her the puppy, following the birth of her second son. When the brother-in-law died in an accident two years ago, they changed the dog's name to his.
Sangeeta's family had always lived along the coast, just north of Pondicherry, a former French colony.
The morning of December 26 began like most others, with sunny skies and a cool breeze.
Sangeeta's husband, R Ramakrishnan, had just returned from his early morning fishing with a boat full of fish.
From their home, the view of the ocean was obstructed by a two-storey community centre. So when they heard a strange noise coming from the sea, Sangeeta's husband went to investigate.
When Ramakrishnan saw the waves, he ran to the roof of the centre and shouted down to Sangeeta to flee. That's when she made her agonising choice.
"He is somewhat older than the other two. I knew he would be able to run, so I grabbed the other two," Sangeeta explained.
Dinakaran credits the dog with saving his life.
"That dog grabbed me by the collar of my shirt," the boy said. "He dragged me out."
Sangeeta said she believes some special spirit, perhaps her brother-in-law's, resides in the dog.
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The Hero dogs of 9-11
Roselle on 911
The Path to Safety
Our country is in mourning over the events that have happened recently. Our hearts have been torn by the knowledge that innocent people, caring people, are now gone. We like to believe that all people are good, that civilization is strong, and that the world is a safe place to live. In the midst of such tragedy, it’s inspirational stories like the following that help outweigh the bad.
Michael Hingson was on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center in New York on that fateful Tuesday morning when the building was struck by a plane under the control of terrorist fanatic.
His yellow Lab guide, "Roselle," was sleeping peacefully under his desk, and the two had been going about their daily routines. Michael is the district sales manager for the computer company Quantum ATL and had been hosting a meeting of field representatives.
"I heard a loud noise like a bump and then a lot of shaking. It was worse than any earthquake I’ve ever experienced," he said. Michael grew up in Palmdale, Calif., and had experienced the Northridge earthquake that struck the state in ’94, among others. He now lives with his wife Karen in Westfield, NJ.
"The building started swaying, and the air was filled with smoke, fire, paper and the smell of kerosene," he said. The plane had struck 15 floors above him. He knew something serious had happened, and his first thought was to call his wife and then make sure everyone in the office was evacuated safely. His wife would not hear from him again until he emerged from the building hours later.
"We knew the emergency exit procedures and people did a very good job of following them," he said. "Roselle" led him through the disheveled office and to the stairwell to begin the long decent, sometimes guiding, sometimes following behind him when things were tight.
Although they didn’t feel anything, Michael estimated that the second plane had struck the other tower when they were somewhere around the 50th floor. "By the time we reached the bottom, it had become very hard to breathe," he said. "We were both very hot and tired. ‘Roselle’ was panting and wanted to drink the water that was pooled on the floor. "
They continued walking away from the building. They were about two blocks away when Tower 2 began to collapse. "It sounded like a metal and concrete waterfall," he said. "We started running for the subway." "Roselle" remained focused on her work and he kept his commands simple. When they emerged and were making their way from the scene, Tower 1 toppled, showering them with ash and debris. "Roselle" guided him to the home of a friend in mid-Manhattan where they stayed until the trains were running again. He finally returned home to his worried wife at 7 p.m.
When we spoke with Michael on the day after the tragedy, he said that they were both feeling stiff and sore, but were otherwise fine. "Roselle" had been sleeping for a lot of the time, but would get up occasionally and play with Michael’s retired yellow Lab guide, "Linnie." Michael said, "For me the saddest part was talking to the firemen as they were coming up the stairs—that’s what I’ll always remember most."
this story comes to us from Fall 2001 Guide Dogs for the Blind website
Scout Helps the Western Pacific as a SAR Dog
The Heroic Newfoundland Dog
By Jim Cornish
Grade Five Teacher
Gander, Newfoundland, Canada
|(1) Newfoundland dogs are renown for their friendliness, love of children and for their rescuing abilities. Since the breed was developed in Newfoundland over a hundred years ago, there have been many stories told of Newfoundlands saving passengers from sinking ships and rescuing children in trouble while playing in their favourite swimming holes. But there is one Newfoundland that showed bravery and loyalty beyond what is commonly credited to the breed. His name was Gander and he gave his life protecting Canadian and other Commonwealth soldiers on the beaches of Hong Kong Island during World War II.
(2) In 1940, Gander was the family pet of Rod Hayden, a resident of the town of Gander in Newfoundland. The dog's name at that time was Pal. He was well known in the town, but often mistaken as a bear by pilots landing at the airport. This gentle giant was loved by the neighbourhood children who used him to tow their sleds during winter. One day, while greeting a group of children, Pal's paw accidentally scratched the face of a six year old. Concerned that the dog might have to be "put down", Mr. Hayden gave Pal to the 1 st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada as a mascot. His new owners called him Gander, after the military base they were responsible for protecting during the war.
(3) Gander and the Royal Rifles were sent to Hong Kong Island in 1941 where they joined other Commonwealth troops to defend the island against attacks by the Japanese. During the Battle of the Lye Mun, Gander displayed great bravery protecting his "newfound" friends. When the Japanese landed near the Canadian section of the beach, Gander greeted the enemy with threatening barks and attempts at biting their legs. On another occasion as Japanese troops were nearing a group of wounded Canadian soldiers, Gander surprised the enemy by charging them. For some reason, the Japanese were unwilling to shoot the dog. Instead, they changed their route and the lives of the wounded soldiers were saved.
(4) Gander showed his greatest and last act of bravery and loyalty during another Japanese attack. During the battle, an enemy grenade landed near a group of Canadian soldiers. Probably out of concern for his friends, Gander grabbed the grenade in his mouth and carried it to where it would do no harm. Unfortunately, the grenade exploded in Gander's mouth, killing him instantly. He had given his life saving the lives of the Canadian soldiers.
(5) The story of Gander's bravery, once well-known and told many times by residents of his h town, was almost forgotten. In a conversation between Mrs. Eileen Elms, who knew the dog as Pal and whose sister had been scratched by the dog, and local historian Mr. Frank Tibbo, Gander's act of bravery was mentioned. Through their efforts, Gander's story was revived and his act of bravery recognized.
(6) Gander, the Newfoundland dog, was posthumously awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal, equivalent to the Victoria Cross given to soldiers of the British Commonwealth for their acts of bravery. Gander was awarded the medal in August, 2000 at a Hong Kong Veterans of Canada reunion in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
This page was researched and written by Jim Cornish, Gander, Newfoundland, Canada as part of the study of the symbols of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Yes, when the luxury liner ship, Titanic sank April 14, there were dogs on the Titanic. The Titanic had excellent kennel facilities. Even a dog show had been planed for Monday April 15th. There were 10 dogs that boarded the Titanic but only 3 survived. Two small dogs were saved with their owners in the life boats. The third dog became a famous hero. The dog was a large Newfoundland dog owned by the ships first officer and his name was Rigel. The following is a story that was published in the New York Herald on April 21, 1912.
Not the least among the heroes of the Titanic was Rigel, a big black Newfoundland dog, belonging to the first officer, who went down with his ship, But for Rigel the fourth boat picked up might have been run down by the Carpathia. For three hours he swam in the icy water where the Titanic went down, evidently looking for his master, and was instrumental in guiding the boatload of survivors to the gangway of the Carpathia.
Jonas Briggs, a seaman aboard the Carpathia now has Rigel and told the story of the dog's heroism. The Carpathia was moving slowly about, looking for boats, rafts and anything which might be afloat. Exhausted with their efforts, weak from lack of food and exposure to the cutting wind, and terror stricken, the men and women in the fourth boat had drifted under the Carpathia's starboard bow. They were dangerously close to the steamship, but too weak to shout a warning loud enough to reach the bridge.
The boat might not have been seen were in not for the sharp barking of Rigel, who was swimming ahead of the craft, and valiantly announcing his position. His barks attracted the attention of Captain Rostron and he went to the starboard end of the bridge to see where they came from and saw the boat. He immediately ordered the engines stopped and the boat came alongside the starboard gangway..
Care was taken to take Rigel aboard, but he appeared little affected by his long trip through the ice cold water. He stood by the raft and barked until Captain Rostron called Briggs and had him take the dog below.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. . . .He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. . . .When all other friends desert, he remains." - George G Vest
When Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee was assigned Lex, a military working dog from Camp Lejeune, the two became fast friends.
Lee had wanted to work with dogs since he was 5, and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Lee decided to join the military as his father had. So it made sense, his father says, that he became a handler of a combat dog. Lex and Lee were deployed together.
They were stationed in Iraq in March when a mortar attack killed Lee, a 20-year-old Marine from Mississippi, and wounded Lex, leaving shrapnel in his spine.
Lee’s family has been trying for months to adopt the 8-year-old German shepherd who, despite his injuries, is still classified as a working dog. The Lees got word Wednesday that they could bring Lex home, in part because of the efforts of a North Carolina congressman.
“Lex was my son’s partner; he was his best friend,” said Jerome Lee, a National Guard veteran who is with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. “He was next to him. He was the last one to see him alive.”
U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, whose congressional district includes Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Marine Corps Air Station New River, began to work on behalf of the Lee family this month.
Jones heard about Lex from John Burnam, a friend of the congressman’s and founder of the National War Dogs Monument project in Washington.
“When I was presented with this story, it brought tears to my eyes,” Jones said this week.
After the injury, Lex was sent to Camp Lejeune for rehabilitation, the elder Lee said Wednesday. Now the dog is at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia and was intended to work for another two years.
Working dogs are part of the military police, trained to perform patrols, detect drugs and bombs. All of the dogs on the East Coast are home based at Camp Lejeune. Out west, dogs are stationed at Camp Pendleton in California.
“I talked to the daddy of this young man down in Mississippi and knew that his son loved the dog so much,” Jones said.
“Dustin gave his life for this country,” Jones said Wednesday. “Giving the dog to his family is a small, small gift to give to a family who gave a child in the fight for freedom.
Jones said he had not expected to go to bat for a family several states away.
“This is just one family in Mississippi,” he said. “But there are so many ‘one families’ … all over North Carolina who understand this. … They have sons or daughters who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“We already know what great fighters and defenders the Marines are,” Jones said Wednesday. “This reminds us that they are also people with great compassion.”
It may take a week to 10 days before Lex goes home. As “breathing property” of the Marines, he must be thoroughly examined and his records must be gathered before he can leave Georgia.
Jerome Lee, who spent part of his childhood in Fayetteville, said Wednesday that he and his wife are looking forward to having Lex in their care.
“We’re just waiting,” he said. “That dog meant so much to Dusty and he means a lot to us.”