News and Posts About Dogs
Week of Oct 7 2012

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  • Belle the Beagle

    Belle was the first canine in history to be the recipient of the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, which is an award given to someone for helping to save another's life with the use of a cell phone. The life she saved was her owner's, Kevin Weaver. Kevin is a diabetic, and Belle was trained to be able to tell when his blood sugar levels were getting close to dangerously low. She would lick his nose and be able to tell. If something is off, she will paw at him and whine.

    "Every time she paws at me like that, I grab my meter and test myself," Weaver said. "She's never been wrong." So on February 27, 2006, when Kevin suffered from a diabetic seizure and collapsed, Belle, then three-years-old, used her training to bite down on the number 9 on Kevin's cell phone. The number had been automatically set to dial 911.

    When dispatchers answered the call all they heard was barking, but it was enough for them to send help to Weaver's residence. Weaver later woke up in the hospital disoriented and had Belle at his side after she tagged alone on the ambulance ride. It was really a happy ending for a dog that was returned twice as a puppy because the owner's claimed "unsatisfied service." When Weaver first brought her home, Belle had no special skills, but Weaver, an ex-pilot, was recommended, by a frequent passenger, to enroll Belle in training to help with his increasing diabetic problems. Weaver said, "There is no doubt in my mind that I'd be dead if I didn't have Belle."

  • Cash the German Shepherd

    In June 2008, 25-year-old Jake Baysinger was reported missing in Colorado. Six weeks later his body was found when rancher Kip Konig happened to spot Baysinger's German shepherd, Cash. Cash was running back and forth from Baysinger's body to the rancher.

    Cash had been standing guard over his master's body, and it was believed he was eating small animals to survive in the Pawnee National Grasslands. Baysinger's death was ruled a suicide, and Cash was returned to his wife and young son. Cash was honored for his loyalty by PETA, which gave him a basket full of treats. Sara, Baysinger's wife, said, "She was Jake's baby. She was our baby before we had our son." Jake adopted Cash when she was a puppy.

    Although this was a tragic end for the family, Sara said she was glad to have it behind her. She was also glad that Cash was returned to them, and her son, Lane, was overjoyed to see the dog again. Sara also said that she did have fond memories of Jake and Cash together. "They would go to a park . . . and they would play fetch forever and ever and ever."

  • Chaser the Border Collie

    Border Collies are a herding breed and the most widespread breed of Collies. They are very energetic, athletic, and have often been thought of as the most intelligent dog breed in existence. This should help to explain Chaser. Chaser's owner, retired psychology professor John W. Pilley, read about a read about another border collie that learned to recognize 200 German nouns. This made him decide to see if Chaser could also learn words. Pilley worked with Chaser on average of five hours a day, and Chaser learned to recognize a couple of nouns each day. As of last count in 2011, Chaser knew 1,022 nouns.

    Pilley taught Chaser how to recognize the nouns by showing her an object and repeating its name up to 40 times. He would then hide it, and tell her to go find it. He would then give her monthly "revisions and reinforcements" for words she had forgotten.

    Pilley actually got more than he bargained for. Chaser started to think that learning new words was her job, and 82-year-old Pilley and others have to work with her every day. He is currently teaching her verbs and basic grammar. Learning words was a way for Chaser to keep active and have a purpose. As Border Collies are normally trained to herd sheep, they are a working breed and must have something to keep them active or they will go stir crazy. In this case Chaser's training has led to her being named "The Smartest Dog Alive."

  • Ellie and Leo

    Ellie is a King Charles Spaniel, and Leo is a German Shepherd. Ellie is a young dog rescued in a liter of five puppies from harsh conditions that caused her to have cataracts on both of her eyes. Also, because she was kept in dark and damp conditions, her eye muscles had not fully developed. This caused Ellie to be left pretty much in the dark.

    Julie Landen, an RSPCA volunteer, adopted Ellie, and she would come live with her and her 14-year-old German Shepherd, Leo. While Julie and the local animal organization were working to raise money to pay for a procedure that could restore Ellie's eyesight, Leo became her very own eye seeing dog.

    Jean Spencer, manager of the Rochdale RSPCA animal shelter on Redcross Street said, "But Leo, who is an absolutely massive dog, has become her eyes. It's touching to watch them together. She follows him around and snuggles up to him." When Julie takes the dogs for a walk in the park, Ellie will tag along beside Leo, and he is very protective of her. Julie said that even though Leo is a big dog he has always been kind to smaller dogs.

    The manager of the RSPCA shelter did a parachute jump fundraiser to earn the money for Ellie's surgery. The surgery ended up being a success; however, one week after the surgery when Ellie was able to see for herself to get around, Leo sadly had to be put down due to cancer.

    It was discovered that Leo had a tumor, and after a tough decision, Ellie's friend and companion had to be taken away. Julie said it seemed like Leo was holding on to watch out for Ellie. She recalled after the surgery, "Their relationship didn't change when she got her sight back. They touched noses when Ellie came home and just curled up together. It was quite touching. It was almost as if he was here to make sure she was okay before he bowed out."