Golden Heroes

Golden retriever saves family from fire
By Andrea Schneider, Middlesboro Daily News Staff Writer, March 22, 2008

PINEVILLE— Sassy, a 9 year old golden retriever, saved her family from a devastating house fire earlier this month. Jessica Adkins and her fiance Roger Belcher were asleep in a room just down the hall from her two young  daughters - Madison, 5, and Rylee, 3 - at about 2:30 a.m. when their golden retriever Sassy came into their room barking loudly.

“Rylee won’t go to sleep without Sassy,” said Adkins, “so normally we put her out after [Rylee] falls asleep, but that night we forgot.” Adkins went on to say, “Sassy kept pawing and barking at Roger.” Once she woke him up she went straight to the back bedroom where one of the girls was sleeping, she said. Adkins added, when Roger did not follow Sassy came back into the room a second time and continued to paw at him until he got out of bed.

She said that Roger followed Sassy into the back bedroom where he noticed a lot of smoke coming from an outlet in the wall where a heater was plugged in. He immediately grabbed Madison, Adkins oldest daughter, and wrapped her in a blanket and carried her into the living room. He then went back to get Adkins youngest daughter Rylee who was sleeping in an adjacent bedroom.

After getting both girls out of the bedrooms, he and Adkins, followed by Sassy, carried the girls outside escaping the fire that quickly engulfed the home.

Adkins reported that firefighters told her the house “burnt the quickest they had ever seen.” She said she knew they were lucky to be alive, all thanks to their dedicated and loving dog, Sassy.

Adkins and her family are currently living in Pineville with her mother. Their house was located just across the Bell County line in the Straight Creek area of Harlan County.



Pooch stayed vigil over fallen master
By KARENA WALTER, St. Catharine's Standard, Ontario

Murphy’s owners took a chance on him, and he didn’t disappoint. The golden retriever, who found a home despite a muscular disorder that makes it difficult for him to walk, s being credited with helping to avert a tragedy.

“The possibilities don’t bear thinking about,” said Isobel Condon, whose husband, Bill, was discovered unconscious in the snow last month because Murphy kept vigil by his side. “Had Murphy wandered off that day, nobody would have found Bill for a long time.”

As it was, the couple estimate Bill Condon, 63, had been lying in a snowy field for about 45 minutes before paramedics were alerted. Snowbanks obscured Condon’s body from passersby and the only sign anything was wrong was a dog standing in the middle of a Carlton Street field by Carleton United Church.

The incident happened around 10 a.m. Feb. 22, when Condon walked Murphy into the field by the church, where grass could be seen poking out of the powdery snow. Little did Condon know there was a slick layer of ice beneath. Condon said he went down without warning. He passed out, woke up, passed out again. “I was in a lot of pain. I tried to get up and I think that’s why I passed out. The pain was so severe,” he said.

Inside the church, secretary Fay Jones said cleaning staff were vacuuming, so she didn’t hear anything amiss. Meanwhile, three-year-old Murphy, no longer held by his leash, didn’t leave Condon’s side, barking and licking his master’s face. The devoted dog waited and waited.

Forty-five minutes later, Sandra MacPherson pulled into the church lot to meet up with a group. Her yellow lab, Bear, started barking. “There was a dog sitting in the field by the snowbank,” MacPherson said. “When I got out of the vehicle, I saw Mr. Condon laying in the snow with Murphy standing guard.”

She ran to Condon, found him unconscious and ran back to the church, where she told the women inside to call 911. They brought out blankets. “He was wet and he was cold. We weren’t going to let him move.” Condon’s clothes were soaked. He had a concussion and was going into shock and had hypothermia.

He is recovering from severe whiplash and pulled muscles in his back and neck, but said it could have been worse without Murphy. “I honestly think I probably would have been more severely hurt and possibly may have died,” he said.

Murphy was adopted by the Condons when he was about six weeks old, but three months later, they noticed he didn’t jump or walk like other dogs. A vet diagnosed him with muscular dystrophy. The breeder offered to take Murphy back because of the disorder, but the Condons wouldn’t dream of it. “He’s not a piece of furniture or a broken radio,” Bill Condon said. “We couldn’t return him, thank G-d for that.”



Stranded grandmother cheats death in near-freezing woodland as loyal dog keeps her warm
UK Daily Mail, December 12, 2007


Pauline Muggleton with dog Goldie. Loyalty: Pet retriever Goldie protected Pauline Muggleton
from the bitter temperatures for ten long hours and may have saved her life

The pensioner suffered injuries to her knees and hands that left her helpless and unable to get back up onto her feet so lay stranded on the chilling ground.

As the hours passed and night fell, temperatures in the woodland plummeted to just three degrees centigrade.

But Goldie curled up so closely to Mrs Muggleton he kept her warm with the heat from his body.

Mrs Muggleton's husband John became fraught with panic when his wife and dog failed to return home by nightfall so went out to look for them.

After a fruitless search, he called the police who sent a helicopter and a team of rescue dogs to the area.

Then in the small hours of the morning, a boarder collie search-dog called Charlie tracked down Mrs Muggleton.

She was whisked to hospital for the night where she received treatment for the effects of hypothermia.

Mrs Muggleton, who has nine grandchildren, said: "I don't remember any of it. One minute I was at home and the next I was waking up in hospital.

"I know how lucky I am and am very grateful to Goldie for staying with me."

The terrifying incident happened just 400 yards from Mrs Muggleton's home while, on Ferndown Common in Dorset, at 3.30pm. Officers from Dorset Police and Matt Cookes from Dorset Search Dogs were responsible for the rescue operation.

Mr Muggleton, a town councillor, said: "Pauline and Goldie went out in the afternoon but then I suddenly realised it was dark so went to look for them. "But I couldn't see anything. The headless chicken syndrome kicked in and I telephoned the police and she was eventually found.

"I was told that if she had been found any later she would have died."

Mr Cookes said Mrs Muggleton was the first person Charlie the collie had ever found. He added: "Charlie alerted me that he had found someone. "When we approached we spotted two eyes staring back at us - it was the missing lady's retriever who was sitting patiently next to her. I am over the moon that it was a successful outcome."




Dog saves Lucerne family from Thanksgiving fire
By Tiffany Revelle, The Record-Bee staff, November 24, 2007

LUCERNE An early wake-up call Thanksgiving morning saved the lives and home of a Lucerne family. Chris Sorenson said his service dog, Buster, woke him up in time to prevent a fire.

Sorenson said it was 4 a.m. when Buster, a nine-year-old golden retriever, alerted him. "Buster hit me in the back of my head with both paws and said, woof,' you know, yowled. I opened my eyes and saw flashing in my room the whole room was lit up, the plug on my wall had blown up. Flames and sparks were shooting out of it," Sorenson said.

A former firefighter on the Northshore, Sorenson ran down the hall and woke up his wife so she could take the couple's three children out of the house. The children, Hally, one and a half years old, Luke, 8, and C.J., 17, made it out safely. The flames stopped when Sorenson flipped the breaker switch, cutting off electricity to the house.

"He (Buster) definitely saved my life," Sorenson said. No one was injured and the house took no damage, save for about six inches of burnt wire Sorenson pulled out of the wall after the flames were out.

"It could've caught the wall on fire inside and we could've had a structure fire," Sorenson said. "Usually a fire will burn inside the wall and go up to the attic

and catch everything upstairs on fire." Sorenson's pet grooming business, run out of his garage, was also saved.

Sorenson said he's going to heed his own warning and have the rest of his outlets checked. "Check your plugs before you plug your Christmas tree lights in," Sorenson said. "When you have old plugs and you're bringing your lamps and other things in and out for a long time they get worn out and get cracks in them, and that can cause a short. If we can teach people a little fire safety here we might save someone's life."

A March 2007 note from Sorenson's doctor shows that Buster is prescribed to him as a service animal to help reduce blood pressure, pressure to Sorenson's eye and anxiety. Sorenson said he adopted Buster from the pound as a five-month-old puppy and trained him to help with daily tasks.

Sorenson is blind in his right eye and has tunnel vision in his left, takes prescriptions for glaucoma and a heart condition and has a hard time getting around after back surgery that replaced four discs in his spinal column.

"He's the smartest dog I ever had," Sorenson said. "At dinner last night when we said our prayers we thanked the Lord for Buster, and we're grateful we have him."

Contact Tiffany Revelle at



Rescued pets honored for courage at gala event
By Trevor Guyette, East Valley Tribune, October 27, 2007

Animals wearing leashes and bowties roamed the lobby and ballroom Saturday night during an awards ceremony for rescued pets from around Arizona.

The fifth annual Hero Awards at the Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix was sponsored by the Friends of Animal Care and Control. Each pet honored at the gala event received a custom-made medallion from jeweler Cornelis Hollander of Scottsdale.

Cornville dog drags owner to safety
Molly, a big 4- or 5-year-old golden retriever, may have saved her owner’s life at their home between Cottonwood and Sedona.

Amy Barrett of Cornville was landscaping her backyard near a steep ravine when she fell in, breaking her clavicle and several other bones and losing consciousness, according to Candy Ziemer, president of the Arizona Golden Retriever Connection.

Molly, who had been terrified of the ledge before, rushed to Amy’s side, licked her face to awaken her and then let Amy hold onto her neck and dragged Amy up the embankment to a place where Joe Barrett, Amy’s husband, could find her.

When Amy was recovering, Molly would not leave her side. Joe even had to drag Molly outside to go to the bathroom.

"She’s very protective of the Barretts," Ziemer said.



Three legged Dog Hailed as a Hero
By Lee Ann Bowman, Producer - WBIR, Live At Five, November 7, 2007

Click here to see a TV video clip
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When Betty White made a recent visit to Knoxville, the Golden Girl received a warm reception from Golden Retrievers.

Members of the Tennessee Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (TVGRR) foundation were there, along with their animals to welcome White, a lifelong animal lover.

One of the fans there was Ellen Franklin, along with her dog, "Trip." Ellen adopted Trip from the rescue group two years ago.

At one time, Trip was deemed un-adoptable and was in danger of being put down. A good Samaritan stepped in and saved Trip, sending him to the TVGRR, which put him with a foster family in Chattanooga.

"I found him online. He had an amputation of his back left leg four months before I adopted him," says Ellen. "I drove to Chattanooga and met his foster mom and it was love at first sight."

Ellen says Trip adapted quickly to his new life on three legs.

"No one has told him that he's a dog with three legs. He chases squirrels and does anything the rest of them can do."

But Trip did something no one could ever have imagined in January of 2007. That's when a fire broke out at the family's home.

"He woke me up in the early hours of the morning," Ellen remembers. "Our house was full of smoke and I was able to get my daughter out of the house and call the fire department."

Trip now spend his days as a therapy dog. He also visits patients, and has posed for a calendar for the TVGRR. Trip -aka "Mr. April"- poses with the firemen who came to his home.

"He's everything, he is," says a tearful Ellen. "He's my best friend. We've had so much fun together and so many adventures. He's wonderful."




Dog Named MacGyver Rescues Owner
KMBC-TV, TheKansas, October 3, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A man who was trapped under a heavy piece of equipment said MacGyver helped save his life. MacGyver just happens to be his dog, not the secret agent from the TV show.

Last Friday, Bill Kiesbing said he was working on a tractor and front loader when he got stuck in a tight spot.

"I went to jack up the high loader to get the tractor under it, the hydraulic cylinder shifted on me and the jack fell and pinned me on the ground," Kiesbing told KMBC's Lara Moritz.

Kiesbing said MacGyver, his 6-year-old golden retriever, helped rescue him. MacGyver is a service dog for Kiesbing, who is paralyzed from the waist down.

"I couldn't get up. The tractor's running, so I hollered for Mac and sent him over to get the neighbor," Kiesbing said. "I told him, 'Go get Van. Go."

"MacGyver comes to my door, and he usually comes inside to get something to eat, but that day he didn't want to come inside, so I went outside and heard my neighbor yelling at me," neighbor Van Read said.

MacGyver led the neighbor over to Kiesbing.

"So I came down there and I saw him underneath that bucket -- that was a big problem," Read said.

Read helped Kiesbing escape from under the equipment, but MacGyver is getting a lot of the credit.

"He does a lot of things -- he gets the mail for me, brings me the remote, he has brought me my telephone. He's always around when I need him," Kiesbing said. "Wherever I am, Mac is there. If I'm out here working on something, he's out here laying in the street."

Kiesbing said Macgyver is so well trained that he will take an empty Pepsi can into the house and bring a full can back to him.





Woman lauds pet as hero: Golden retriever stops charge by coyote or coydog, owner says
By Brent Davis, Record Staff, July 28, 2007

CAMBRIDGE - The day began, as most do for Jan Arnald, with an early-morning walk with her dog, Bailey.

It changed in a heartbeat.

Arnald had just left her Galt home at about 4:30 a.m. with the two-year-old golden retriever when she spotted something through the darkness near Inverness and Grand Ridge drives. It was an animal, about the size of a dog, pacing back and forth about 50 metres away.

And then it was a blur, charging, covering the distance between them in seconds, leaping through the air.

Initially she thought it was a dog, but with its distinctive face and mangy coat, she concluded it was a coyote, or a cross called a coydog.

"It came right at me, right at my throat," Arnald says.

She loosened Bailey's lead, just enough that the growling dog could knock the smaller coyote down and fend off the attack with her paws. The coyote was stunned, giving Arnald a chance to run.

She and her dog raced home, the coyote pursuing and nipping at Arnald's legs. They made it inside -- barely. The frantic coyote continued to bang against a glass door for a couple of minutes before it ran off, possibly spooked by Arnald's screams.

Neither Arnald nor Bailey were hurt in the July 10 attack -- and Arnald says she owes that to her dog.

"I wouldn't have survived it without her," she says. "My dog saved me, that's a given."

And in the wake of another coyote attack that killed a Kitchener cat earlier this week, Arnald wants people to realize they're out there.

"There are too many small children up here," she says. "People have to know they're here."

In the 10 years she's lived in the area, Arnald had never seen a coyote until the morning of the attack. But she's seen them since, running in pairs or in a pack of three on at least two other occasions.

Coyotes, typically, are timid creatures. They're opportunistic, known to attack livestock and small animals such as cats, but they rarely tangle with humans.

That has Arnald wondering whether the one that attacked her was rabid. Following the incident, a veterinarian gave Bailey a clean bill of health because she hadn't suffered any bites or cuts.

"Coyotes would be capable of carrying the rabies virus," says Curt Monk, Waterloo Region's manager of health protection.

But a rabid coyote hasn't been found in the region in more than a decade, thanks in part to a successful provincial bait vaccination program.

Since 1992, the number of cases of animal rabies has dropped by 95 per cent in Ontario, Monk says.

Still, it doesn't mean it's not a possibility.

"My advice would be to exercise caution around wild animals," Monk says. "Don't approach them, and don't feed them."

On Monday, a homeowner watched, horrified, as a coyote attacked and killed a pet cat in her Kitchener backyard.

Both incidents occurred in proximity to the Grand River, a popular area for coyotes.

A Ministry of Natural Resources spokesperson said earlier this week that warmer winters and an increase in the local rabbit population would translate into healthier, more numerous coyotes.

Officials in Cambridge are looking to hire a private contractor who could trap and possibly relocate the animals.

"We're not equipped to trap them," says manager of operations compliance Jamie Austin.

He encouraged people in Cambridge to report coyote sightings to the public works division at 519-621-0740. Noting times and locations may help a contractor narrow their search.

As for Arnald and Bailey, they're still going for their walks. But Arnald is armed these days with a canister of animal repellent, a whistle to make noise and a heightened awareness of what could be lurking in the area.

"I've never been scared of an animal . . . until that day," she says.







Man's Best Friend Hailed Hero

Kero 23 News, July 24, 2007

OILDALE, Calif. -- Man's best friend has a whole new meaning for a man who said his dog saved his life from a house fire.

The fire broke out in the early-morning hours Tuesday on Highland Hills Drive in Oildale, leaving the house a total loss.

Firefighters said it started in the garage and before the smoke detectors were triggered, a golden retriever named Tye came to the rescue.

Tye barked and nudged his owner, Rick Plummer, until he woke up.

Plummer said he is thankful Tye took action, and said he rewarded him handsomely with three hot dogs.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Be sure to watch the great video provided here and images from the fire.




Bad luck comes in threes for Tony
By Emma Cullwick, Birmingham Mail, August 14, 2007

SOME people have all the luck - but not disaster prone Brummie Tony Richards. The 62-year-old has suffered a spate of misfortune over the past week. First he was made redundant from his engineering job at a toilet roll making company in Aston last Thursday. The next day a family holiday organised to cheer him up was flushed down the pan when his caravan burst into flames just ten minutes into the journey to the south of France.

The final blow came when the avid Blues fan was left gutted after his team were beaten 3-2 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. "They say bad luck comes in threes, let's hope I've had my lot now," said Tony, of Hernefield Road, Shard End. But a bit of good fortune did befall Tony - in the unlikely form of his two-and-a-half-year-old dog, Bonnie.

The golden retriever was the one to sniff out something was wrong with the ill-fated caravan as Tony travelled in his Citroen car with wife Christine, aged 63, and aunt Patricia Burrows, 65.

"I've no doubt that Bonnie saved our bacon," said Tony. "I've had a head cold recently and it's affected my hearing. Then Bonnie, who was in the back of the car, started barking like mad, which is really out of character.

"I realised something must be wrong, so I pulled the car over."

Within 30 seconds the caravan went up in a ball of flames, spreading to the back of the car.

He said: "I may seem like the world's unluckiest person at the moment, but at least my family and I are alive to tell the tale."

West Midlands and Warwickshire fire crews tackled the blaze on the hard shoulder of the M6 motorway near junction four at Coleshill at around 1.30pm on Friday.

It is believed an electrical fault in a generator sparked the blaze.

"I guess I'll have to settle for a day's fishing in one of the canals in Brum - but then again I'll probably lose my rods!" said Tony.


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