The National Hero Dog Award™ is awarded annually by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA), which is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California since 1877. Even though this organization is based in Southern California this award can go to a dog anywhere nationwide. This year the award went to a 5 year-old Shiloh German Shepherd from Millsap, Texas named Bear.
I am featuring this story for two reasons. First it is simply an inspirational story. Second Bear is a shining example of a rescued dog that was an unforeseen blessing to the woman who adopted him, Debbie Zeisler. Last May Bear tried to stop Debbie from going outside, but she ignored him and continued outside anyway. Almost immediately, she was hit with a seizure, causing her to fall down the front steps of her home and hit her head knocking her unconscious. In the area of North Texas that Debbie and Bear live in May brings temperatures of around 100º. Bear ran from house to house, scratching on the front doors, trying to find help and getting no response. Bear was about a block away from their house when an animal control officer from Parker County spotted him. Bear managed to lead the officer back to Debbie who was now conscious though disoriented and confused. Bear then accompanied Debbie to the hospital when paramedics arrived. Debbie has suffered from seizures since a riding accident 18 years ago. Bear has never had any training, but three days after being taken home he started alerting her to possible problems. He now directs Debbie to take her medication every morning and on occasion fetches it for her. SpcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein, is quoted as saying “This just goes to show how amazing shelter dogs can be, if Debbie had not adopted Bear, where would she and Bear be today? The bond between an animal and his human companion is powerful and life-saving.” A sentiment I couldn’t agree with more. Debbie said she initially went to the Weatherford Animal Shelter to get a German shepherd for her mother. When she asked about shepherds, she was told they only had one, but he was in the back because nobody wanted him.When they brought him out it was love at first sight, while she came to his rescue that day she says she has since lost count of the times he has come to hers.