Yogi, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever who helped save his dog dad’s life when he fell off a bicycle, received two honors at last weekend’s Fourth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards, presented by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): Dog of Valor and People’s Hero.
This was the first time one dog has won both 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. The People’s Hero award is given to the dog with the most votes on the HSUS website.
As we reported last March, Yogi was named as a finalist for saving Paul Horton when he fell off his bike. Last year, Horton set out on a bike ride in Austin, Texas, with Yogi trotting beside him. While on a mountain trail a few blocks from home, Horton failed to navigate a small jump from the 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. Horton’s neighbors were taking their dog for a walk nearby and noticed Yogi’s barking and out-of-character agitation. Yogi ran down the hill, leading them to Horton. The neighbors immediately called 911.
When the paramedics arrived, Yogi still refused to leave Horton’s side. Although Horton suffered a broken vertebra and was paralyzed from the chest down, without quick treatment thanks to Yogi, his injury would have been even worse. Yogi has stayed glued to his dog dad’s side ever since the accident.
Besides Yogi, 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 the 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.
PHOTO: Claire Broering