Recently, at PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre in Toronto , three dogs and a cat were inducted into the 42nd Annual Purina Animal Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees – Chance, Patty, Bingo and Gepetto–have demonstrated a powerful bond with their families and have shown bravery in the saving of their human family members’ lives.
Mary Siemiesz, executive director of the Purina PetCare Legacy, said in a press release, “2009 marked an extraordinary year for animal bravery… This year’s inductees have shown us that a hero is a hero no matter how big or small–all that matters is the size of their hearts. They remind us why we adopt, rescue and welcome pets into our lives, and why it is so essential they are responsibly cared for and cherished.”
Flashback to 1968. Purina Canada president James (Jimmy) MacPherson – who was good friends with hockey world legends like Frank ‘King’ Clancy and Leaf coach George ‘Punch’ Imlach – reasoned that if there can be a Hall of Fame to honour gifted hockey players, why couldn’t there be a Hall of Fame for extraordinary pets? The idea was kickstarted after James heard of a black Labrador Retriever named Pat, who towed his owner’s oar-less boat for more than three hours to safety on the rough waters of the St. Lawrence River.
Purina Animal Hall of Fame is the longest-running program of its kind in Canada. Its mandate is to honour and to celebrate family pets and service dogs for their acts of heroism in aid of owners or family members. Honourees are carefully selected based on feats of bravery, keen instinct, loyalty and intelligence in the saving of a human life.
In the beginning, possible inductees came from two types of sources – media stories and the testimony of constables and fire fighters who were aware of the program. People were encouraged to submit their stories via mail.
Organizers invested time and legwork to ensure accuracy, fact-checking from police/ambulance/doctor–reports as well reconfirming with journalists the details of their stories. The process went online in 2006, as Purina began its Web-based nomination process.
Heroes have come in all sizes and shapes in the last 42 years. More than 140 inductees have been recognized, including 120 dogs, 25 cats and one horse…
1968: Pat, Tippy, Bambi | Trixie, Patrick, Jiggs | Lonsome, Ralph,Kanaka| Rex, Charlie Brown, Tramp | Scamp, Jackie, Trooper | Rhoda, Timmy, Patches |Brown Dog, Cloud ll, Baby | Jade, Little Monster, Shep| Mr.Baggins, Gamma | Kitty, Bingo, Dandy | Nuisance, Benjie, Tarbot | Napoleon, Muffin, Daisy| Lance, Whiskers, Candy | Maude, Dixie | Angel, Brandy, Murph| Spook, Wolfey, Cherokee| Chacka, Shylea, Peaches| Ruffy, Wrinklesock’s Bulldozer Black, Lady Amanda of Fielding| George, McGregor, Ollie| Dick, Charlie, P.J. | Grizzly, Cali, Shana | Tara, Mimi, Jack | Hustler, Cali, Tia, Tracker | Nago, Jazz and Little Bits, Ricky, Cato| Belle, Nellie, Sam, Ewo | Wrinkles, Bruno, Lindy | Brigitte & Bambi, Mandy, Polux, Keno | Morphy, Hobbes, Sampson| Cesar, Scooter, Ceasar, Norton | Elmo, Holly, Etoile de Nuit | Caleigh, Stub, Bandit, Lilly | Indiana, Star, Keno | Beau, Nelson, Tracer, Pebbles| Juice, Shadow, Cyr,Sosa| Ty, Jellie Jill, Tim, Abby | Samurai, Schmichael, Teddy Bear, Odin |Echo, Jango, Mel-O | Corey, Peeka, Freddie, Maggie May, Missy | Ace, Sophie, Jarod, Nemo – 2010, Chance, Patty, Bingo and Gepetto.
For more information about Purina Animal Hall of Fame, please visit www.purina.ca
Photography: Bianca Kapteyn