California Canine Named “Dogs of Valor” Finalist by HSUS
OCTOBER 02, 2008By Press Release, Humane Society of the United StatesThe Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that Pearl, a boxer-Great Dane mix from Big Bear City, Calif., has been selected as a finalist in the inaugural Dogs of Valor Award competition. Pearl is a service dog trained to help her owner, Adrian McKee, with her mobility. She was chosen as a finalist in the working dog category by a panel of celebrity judges that included Martina Navratilova, Candy Spelling, Tamar Geller and Silvio Horta. The panel selected Pearl because of the extraordinary determination she demonstrated when she tried to save her owner, who collapsed from a dangerous medical condition. The day McKee fainted, Pearl, now 14, licked her neck and used her nose to try to raise her owner's head. When that failed, Pearl went to the phone, knocked the receiver off the hook and stepped on one of the large emergency buttons, a "trick" McKee had casually shown her a few times before. When the 911 operator heard no response, an ambulance and police car were dispatched to the home. Meanwhile, Pearl opened the door as she had been trained, grabbed a ball in her mouth, and ran to the gate to greet the rescuers. Because Pearl's sizable appearance had frightened paramedics and police in the past, McKee trained Pearl to carry a ball in her mouth to ensure visitors that she was friendly. Paramedics followed Pearl back into the home to McKee and took her to the emergency room where she was treated for dangerously low potassium levels. After several days of treatment, she was released. "We talk about the unique bond we share with man's best friend," said Paul Bruce of the HSUS' West Coast regional Office. "Pearl's determination to help her owner shows just how deeply that bond is shared, truly making her a Dog of Valor."Pearl and her owner will receive an original sterling silver Dogs of Valor tag designed by California's Bella Tocca Tags and a hand-crafted dog wall clock from Humane Domain, The HSUS' online store. The local community has also stepped forward to reward Pearl. HSUS staff will present Pearl with the Dogs of Valor Award at Big Bear City Community Services District (139 E. Big Bear Blvd.) on Monday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.