Pythons and Heroes: Sundance's Story
By Melissa Murphy, Business Press Release,
SAN FRANCISCO-- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- July 7, 2004 -- For nearly 50 years,
canines of all shapes and sizes have been honored for their acts of heroism through the
Dog Hero of the Year award. This year is no different. Del Monte Foods, maker of Kibbles
'n Bits(R) dog food today announced that it is bestowing its annual Kibbles 'n Bits Dog
Hero of the Year Award to a Golden Retriever from New York named Sundance who exemplifies
the spirit of canine heroism celebrated since 1954.
It was a warm, sunny August afternoon and Michelle Passalacqua of
Farmingville, NY, ran inside her kitchen to pour her two daughters, Kaila (7) and Sara
(3), a drink for their backyard picnic. Kaila followed her mother inside to help, leaving
Sara to play in their new toy ball pit. Seconds later, Passalacqua heard a scream and then
crying. She ran outside and found their pet Golden Retriever, Sundance, barking at a
large, strange-looking snake dead on the ground and Sara crying on top of the picnic
Passalacqua quickly checked her daughter for bites, but found nothing.
Sundance had saved the day. The large, eight-foot snake - a ball python - had made the
Passalacqua's ball pit its home and when Sara jumped in, it became agitated and started to
slither toward her. Sundance, recognizing the danger, began to bark loudly at the reptile
and eventually killed it to protect his young owner.
"When I heard that Sunny had won the Dog Hero of the Year Award, I
almost broke into tears," said Passalacqua. "Sundance needs an operation to
remove a few tumors from the back of his shoulders and we didn't have enough money to
schedule the surgery. Now, we are going to use the prize money for his operation. He has
done so much for us, now it's our turn to help him."
Roquemore, Summer, 2003
This past summer, early in the morning my service
dog Mart woke me by pawing the bed, he wouldn't stop. I transferred to my wheelchair to
let him out, thinking he must need to toiletthis
was so unlike him. He wouldn't go out, he just sat and stared at me with those big, soft
"What is it Marti" I started to notice a smell, unlike
any I've ever smelt. I began to look, Marti following and staring.
I ended up at the back of the house near the room to a studio used
by my significant other, the odor was very strong there. I opened the door, what could it
be? I found a wax pot had been left on high and the wax was boiling. The pot was so hot I
couldn't touch it to turn it off. I pulled the plug out of the wall, turned to say thank
you Marti, but he was gone.
I went into the bedroom and he lay on my side of the bed sleeping
peacefully. I asked my partner would that have caught on fire. The reply was yes, that
would have been the next step.
We are both in wheelchairs. Thank you sweet Marti for saving us
from fire as I do not think we could have escaped. Bless the Goldens!
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