On Monday, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced Yogi as the Valor Dog of the Year in its Fourth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards.
The Dogs of Valor Awards honor dogs “who who have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need,” according to the HSUS website.
As we reported last December, Yogi, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever, saved his dog dad, Paul Horton, when he fell off his bike. Horton had set out on a bike ride in Austin, Texas, while Yogi trotted beside him. While on a mountain trail a few blocks from home, Horton failed to navigate a small jump from a dirt trail to the paved road. He landed on his head, leaving him paralyzed.
For the next 45 minutes, Yogi refused to leave Horton’s side. When Horton told Yogi to go home, the pup went to the top of the hill where the trail met the road and barked furiously. Thankfully, Horton’s neighbors were taking their dog for a walk nearby and were drawn by Yogi’s barking and out-of-character agitation. Once they drew closer, Yogi ran down the hill, leading them to where Horton lay. The neighbors immediately called 911.
When the paramedics arrived, Yogi still refused to leave Horton’s side. After surgery and countless tests, Horton found out he had broken a vertebra and was paralyzed from the chest down. But without quick treatment, his injury would have been even worse. Horton is still receiving treatment, but each time he returns home from the hospital, Yogi stays glued to his side.
Other Dogs of Valor Award honorees were first runner-up Sarge, a 3-year-old German Shepherd who alerted his family to an intruder in their house. The second runner-up was Gangsta, a 5-year-old Pomeranian who barked to alert her dog dad when his daughter had a seizure and lost consciousness in a scalding-hot shower.
The panel of celebrity judges for the Dogs of Valor Awards included Charlotte Ross, Chris Riggi and Jon Prescott.
PHOTO: Claire Broering