The late Quanto, a five-year-old German Shepherd, was among the four dogs and one cat being honoured at the annual ceremony at the PawsWay in Toronto on Monday. The event recognizes extreme acts of courage, bravery and devotion by Canadian pets and service animals.
On an early morning last October, Quanto and his partner, Const. Matt Williamson strayed from a pack of police cars that were in pursuit of a suspect in a stolen vehicle in an effort to quickly secure the perimeter. When the vehicle became disabled at a gas station, the man jumped out and fled. Williamson ordered the suspect to stop or he would send in Quanto — but his calls were ignored.
The officer deployed the dog to nab the suspect, and the man wound up hitting the dog several times with his right fist. As Williamson got closer, he realized the suspect was wielding a knife and actually stabbing the dog.
Williamson ordered the man to drop the knife and the dog released his hold on the man. By this time, police officers had arrived and surrounded the suspect to arrest him.
Quanto sustained three major stab wounds to the body — including the fatal one that punctured his aorta. He was the fifth Edmonton police dog to die in the line of duty. The man who killed him was sentenced to 26 months in prison and banned from owning a pet for 25 years.
"Quanto made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life to protect his team and the citizens of Edmonton, and for this incredible act of heroism, he will always be remembered," according to the inductee profile.
The other inductees are:
Jake and Kyra from Peterborough, Ont.
Last September, Lynn O'Connor was walking along a familiar trail with her German Shepherds Jake and Kyra when she was attacked by a black bear. The bear knocked her to the ground and bit her stomach and upper thigh. Jake charged at the bear to distract the vicious animal and was knocked down as the bear pursued his owner once again, biting O'Connor's left leg and dragging her across the ground.
Utlimately, it was Kyra's persistent biting and barking at the bear that helped turn its attention away from her owner to chase the dog into the woods. O'Connor's husband, Jerry, had heard his wife's distant cries for help and the barking dogs and was able to drive to her rescue. Kyra re-emerged from the woods and both dogs circled the ATV to protect them in case the bear tried to attack. O'Connor made a full recovery. Jake died last November of old age.
Rocky from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
Adam Shaw and his trusty companion Rocky, a 105-pound Husky-Labrador mix, came to the rescue of Samara, 9 and Krymzen, 10 last March. Samara had fallen through the ice and was being carried away by the aggressive current in the North Saskatchewan River. Her older sister fell in as she tried to help her.
While Shaw and Rocky were able to pull Krymzen out, Samara was being pulled further downstream. Due to the frigid waters, hypothermia was setting in which meant she could no longer move her arms or legs. The ice gave way as they tried to reach her and both fell into the river.
Shaw was able to pull himself out by holding onto Rocky's leash, while Rocky went back in and swam to Samara. She held Rocky's leash as Shaw called the canine back to him and pulled both the girl and dog to safety. Both sisters were treated in hospital and released.
Meskie from Little Shemogue, N.B.
Last August, Chryl Field was awoken by Meskie, her 17-year-old Calico-Angora mixed cat, forcefully pouncing on her stomach. Suspecting her pet's odd behaviour was a sign something was wrong, the 67-year-old followed Meskie into the kitchen and noticed that the front of her house was on fire.
Field called 911 and fled in only a nightgown with Meskie in tow. The flames from the blaze were so intense, the paint on Field's car was blistering from the heat as she drove away.
Since its inception in 1968, 136 dogs, 27 cats and one horse have been inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.