There are many good reasons to adopt a dog from the SPCA or any Animal Rescue Shelter, but few think it is to save your life.
The following twelve families – who all adopted dogs from a shelter – some of whom were going to euthanize - now know that the life they saved was not only the dog’s but their own.
In southern California, six-year-old Leo Depp suffered from brain aneurysms. His mother Yasmine discovered that the only joy he had was when the service dogs visited the hospital where he was being treated. Yasmine went the local animal shelter and found a mutt that nobody seemed to want. In fact, Henry was on the “kill list”. Yasmine soon discovered that the grateful dog would sit on Leo’s bed constantly and soon was able to predict the boy’s seizures prior to his convulsions through – it was said- his uncanny sense of smell. He could sense a hormonal change. Henry would run barking to alert Yasime, who soon learned to trust her canine babysitter. Yasmine would then administer the medication prior to the convulsion, lessening the pain and providing comfort to Leo. Yasmine now refers to her family as the Three Musketeers.
Emily Choi’s best friend is a dog named Angel that she brought home from the Hawaiian Humane Society in 2009. Late one night, Emily was feeling sick and, when she went the bathroom, she fell and was unable to get up. Angel ran to the other side of the house, woke up Emily’s daughter and bugged her until she reluctantly got up, saw her mother unconscious on the bathroom floor and called for an ambulance. The doctors were able to save her mother’s life and stated that if she remained on the floor much longer, she would have slipped into a coma and probably died.
Debbie Zeisler had suffered from seizures for 18 years when she adopted a German shepherd named Bear from the Milsap, Texas animal shelter in May 2011. Without any training whatsoever, Bear quickly learned to tell Debbie when to take her medications, prior to an attack, by actually leaning on her legs. Then Debbie would know it was time to take her medication. One day, however, Debbie ignored Bear’s warning, suffered a seizure, and was knocked out after falling down the stairs. Bear went door to door in her neighborhood barking for help – and was ignored - until, miraculously, he ran into an animal control officer who noticed that Bear had a seizure alert tag. The officer followed Bear home and called the ambulance which saved Debbie’s life.
In Southport, North Carolina, the Lewis family went to the local SPCA and adopted a dog named Thor. When their elderly neighbor, Barbara Simmons, while outside checking her mail at the mailbox near the road, fell and hit her head. Barbara cried out for help. No one heard her—except Thor. He came running, saw her struggling on the ground, went home and got his owner and led him to the scene. They called the EMT who admitted that Thor probably saved Barbara Simmons’ life.
In Gloustershire, England, Sara, 17, was diagnosed with epilepsy. Thinking she needed a companion, she went to the animal shelter and adopted a dog named Sheeba. A few months later, while taking Sheeba for a walk at dusk along a road, Sara had a fit and fell down. When she awoke by the side of the road, a passerby, standing above her, told her that Sheeba had dragged her to safety narrowly avoiding the path of an incoming car and thus saving her life.
In St. Petersburg, Florida in March 2012, a seventeen-year old animal shelter volunteer was taking a pooch named Maybeline for a walk when she was attacked by convicted sex offender Michael Bacon. Bacon grabbed her by the hair, pinned her on the ground and attempted to rape her. The 35 pound Maybeline immediately went after the assailant and bit him so hard that he screamed and fled. Maybeline had a new home and a friend for life.
In Shirley, Massachusetts, in May 2012, a pit bull named Lilly was rescued from a Boston animal shelter by a man who thought the dog would be a good companion for his lonely and despondent mother, Christine Spain. Little did he know the decision would save his mother’s life when she fell unconscious on railroad tracks while taking the dog for a walk. The speeding train was unable to stop in time and Lilly used her teeth to drag Mrs. Spain out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, the train couldn't avoid slicing through the front leg of Lilly and which later had to be amputated. However, Mrs. Spain survived the incident totally unharmed.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, kindhearted John Green took Queen Sheba from the local SPCA after discovering the dog was passed over several times and was facing euthanasia. Queen Sheba quickly became part of the family when she saved John from a heart attack while alone in his bedroom. John’s father was in the backyard tending to the garden when the dog elicited his attention by licking his face until he came in the house, discovered his son’s dilemma and got medical attention. If the dog hadn't alerted John’s father, John may have died in his own room, before his poor father would have known and had a chance to call for medical attention.
A New York State Trooper named Michael Boburka was notified by his friend at the Binghamton, New York SPCA, in 2010, that a German Shepherd named Wheeler had amazing protective skills and alertness. The police hired the dog and within one month, Wheeler tracked down a lost four year old boy in the woods and saved his life, New York State Police easily admitted that without Wheeler’s tracking skills, the boy would never been found alive. The dog is now known as Sgt. Wheeler.
In Glendale, Arizona, in January, 2012, author Bethe Bennett adopted a schnauzer named Danny from the Glendale animal shelter. Danny quickly showed his gratitude to his new owner when she slipped on her kitchen floor, broke her femur, and lay unconscious. Danny woke her up by licking her face then knocked the phone from the receiver and nudged it towards her hand. When Bethe asked Danny to bring her paper, he brought her five slips of paper one of which had her neighbor’s phone number. The neighbor called 911 and let the emergency personnel in with a spare key.
In Nicasio, California in 2006, Michael Bosch went to his local SPCA looking for a dog and found an unwanted Cocker Spaniel named Honey. When Michael went on vacation, luckily he took Honey with him. Michael’s SUV rolled off a lonely, country road and, while going down a deep ravine, it turned over, leaving the injured Michael unable to get out of the upside down truck. Summoning all his remaining strength, Michael managed to free the dog to get help. Honey climbed up the ravine and ran for more than half a mile away until he found a man and brought him to the scene of the accident. Rescuers concluded that if not for Honey’s loyalty and perseverance, Michael would have surely died.
In Indianapolis, Indiana in 2005, Kathie Vaughan’s sister thought it was a good idea to get Kathie, who was paralyzed from the waist down, a canine companion, so she went to the Indianapolis SPCA and found a kind–looking Rottweiler named Eve. Kathie, although paralyzed, had learned to drive a special, modified truck that one day crashed and caught on fire. As the vehicle went up in flames, Eve pulled Kathie out of the truck by her ankles forty feet away to safety into a ditch just before the truck exploded. Kathie was unharmed and very grateful.
So just remember that the lonesome dog who sits forlorn in a cage in some rescue shelter, whose life you might save, just might someday rescue you and save your life!