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Monday May 4th, 2015

Posted at 5:10pm

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Rob Sheardown’s heroic dog, Bella, was inducted today into the 2015 Purina Animal Hall of Fame. (CNW Group/Purina Animal Hall of Fame)

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in November 2014, when Rob Sheardown entered his apartment building after his daily walk with his dog Bella. The duo prepared to enter the ground floor elevator together as they typically did, but something strange happened on this day. Bella, who is normally extremely obedient, refused to get into the elevator.

Ignoring Rob’s commands, Bella instead pulled him back into the apartment lobby. Confused by Bella’s odd behaviour, Rob followed her behind one of the lobby couches and, to his shock, discovered an elderly man lying on the ground. He was pale, sweating profusely and complaining of severe chest pains – he was having a heart attack.

Rob immediately called an ambulance, and as they waited for it to arrive, Bella sat beside the man with her paw on his arm, and did not leave his side until paramedics arrived.

Rob, being hard of hearing in one ear, and knowing how empty his lobby typically is on Sundays, is convinced no one – not even himself – would have discovered the man in time had it not been for Bella’s keen intuition that someone was in desperate need of help.

Today, Bella was one of four hero dogs who were inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.

“Every year we are amazed by the various ways in which heroic animals save human lives,” said Dean McNeill, Manager, PR & Corporate Communications, Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada. “This year’s inductees have an incredible sense of awareness; in unique ways they each kept human lives safe when people weren’t immediately available, rescuing their owners, loved ones and in one case a complete stranger.”

Since its inception in 1968, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame has honoured pets and service animals for their remarkable feats of bravery, from alerting humans to life-threatening medical emergencies, to saving them from extreme conditions.

In the last 47 years, 168 animals have been inducted, including 140 dogs, 27 cats – and even a horse. The 2015 Inductees have joined these ranks. Through their keen intuition and sense of duty, they have shown they understand and are compelled to protect us when we need them the most.

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