Golden Heroes

Buddy, 1998 Service Animal Hero
MSPCA Animal Hall of Fame!

Golden Retriever Buddy brightens the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. He lives with them at a group home in Brighton, Mass., run by Catholic Charities.
It was the last wish of his original owner, a former resident and MSPCA Phinney's Friends client, that Buddy remain in the care of his friends and housemates.
Buddy's loving presence, fondness for tennis balls, and joy in a good walk brightens the days of everyone at the home.



Golden Retriever Rowdy
Heinz Pet Products Reward Dog Hero Runner-Up, 1998

Rowdy, a three-year-old Golden Retriever from Fort Worth, Texas, saved the life of his owner, Karin Martin, who has a chronic medical condition requiring her to take nourishment from a feeding tube inserted into her heart.
One night, as Karin slept, the tube became dislodged and instead of the nutrients trickling in, blood was spurting out. Rowdy began licking Karin's face and nudging her chin with his nose to waken her. When Karin awoke, she managed to shut off the valve.
Had Rowdy not roused her, Karin's doctors say she would have bled to death.


Golden Retriever Dusty
Saved Owner from Fire, Then needed Rescue Himself

Dusty, now a fourteen year old Golden Retriever, saved the life of his parent and caregiver, Steve Cook, who had just started heating up a gas grill in the back yard in July 1995. Usually, Steve would let the grill heat up for five to ten minutes. However, on this fateful day he started up the grill, and then went downstairs for a five-minute cooling down period as it was a hot day
Unfortunately, something happened to the hose that carried the gas, and it split and started spewing out flame and fire. The house then caught fire, but Steve did not realize this as he had just turned on the grill five minutes earlier and went downstairs to cool off from this hot July day. Dusty came downstairs, cried, then went upstairs and cried. He did this a couple times, so Steve thought he just wanted out. By the time he got upstairs that whole end of the house was on fire. If not for Dusty coming downstairs and letting him know something was wrong, Steve would have been trapped downstairs and might have died.
Both Dusty and Steve got out of the house without injury. While running out of the front door with Dusty, Steve dialed 911, yelled "Fire Fire Fire," and dropped the phone without hanging it up. Within a few minutes the first fire truck arrived with its lights and siren going. The firemen propped open the front door and went in with their hoses.
Without Steve realizing, Dusty had become scared by the fire trucks and loud sirens, running back into the house during the height of the fire. Luckily, two Lake Johanna firemen were able to save Dusty, Paula finding him in a lower level shower. Paul and Paula carried him out, and while Dusty did suffer smoke inhalation, he survived without any permanent damage. Now in March 2001, Dusty continues to be doing well — at almost 15 years of age!


Golden Retriever Sasha Saved Five-Year-Old's Life
March 27, 2001

Sasha was a Golden Retriever Rescue dog from Carol Jackson's local animal shelter in Sandy, Oregon. The shelter has an adoption center at the local mall, and that is where Carol found her. Sadly, she had been abused and therefore was not too trusting of  people. Yet, after two years of love, Sasha was beginning to come out of her shell.
During the summer of 1998, Carol's family had some friends over for dinner, their boys busy outside on the play structure as the adults were indoors preparing dinner. Suddenly, Zachary Oguri, a friend of Carol's son Austin, came running into the house screaming for help. Outside it was discovered that Austin, who was purple-faced with eyes bulging, was hanging by his neck from a bungie cord. Half on the slide and half off, he was unable to get back up to relieve the tension from the cord.
But, there was Sasha on the slide, her nails dug into the plastic, pushing Austin with all of her Golden might. Amazingly, she knew to try to push him back up into the play structure to lesson this cord's tension. And, she was just getting the bungie to loosen when Carol reached the structure. If not for Sasha's intervention, Austin would have most probably died. While Austin did recover from this episode, dreadful ligature marks and broken blood vessels in his eyes were testament to what he had painfully endured.
According to Carol, from that day on, Sasha made a complete transformation, emerging completely from her protective shell. The most loving and intelligent dog that the Jackson Family has ever had, it is truly believed that she came to become part of the family to perform this act of heroism.
Although it has been almost three years since this almost tragic incident, the memory of its significance remains. In fact, the Jacksons continue to show folks the gouges in the slide that resulted.  


Hero Dog is Real-Life Lassie
Gloucestershire Echo & Citizen Online, January 15, 2001

A devoted dog ran home to raise the alarm after his 14-year-old owner was hit by a car as they crossed the road. Six-year-old Golden Retriever Oscar dashed to the family home in Basildon, Essex, after Samantha Gillatt was injured on her newspaper round.
In true Lassie-style, he scratched at the door and barked uncontrollably - making Samantha's mum Mandy realise something was wrong.
She said: "I heard a bashing and scratching at the door. He came running in barking his head off. I knew he was trying to tell me that something was wrong."
When Mrs. Gillatt saw blood on Oscar's fur, she realised there had been an accident and rang Samantha on her mobile phone.
Her daughter needed hospital treatment for cuts and bruises, while Oscar was taken to the vet with a cut eye.
Mrs. Gillatt added: "He's a hero - the police said it was like Lassie Come Home!"



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