Here are a handful of amazing canines and felines who reached out with their tiny paws and dialed 9-1-1 during emergencies, saving lives and entering the halls of heroes.
1. Tommy, an orange and tan cat, managed to hit the speed dial for 911 when his owner, Gary Rosheisen, fell from his wheelchair. “He’s my hero,” Rosheisen said. A police officer called it “kind of weird.” Columbus, Ohio, December 2005.
2. Black-and-white Tipper was choking on his flea collar, with part of the collar rolled up and lodged in the kitten’s mouth. In the commotion, Tipper managed to knock the telephone off the hook and stepped on the emergency speed dial button. The police arrived within minutes and removed the collar. A sheriff’s spokesman told reporters, “In all my years, I’ve had a lot of animal stories — but this is the greatest.” Tampa, Florida, July 1996.
3. When Joe Stainaker, a police officer, began having a seizure at home, his one-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd, Buddy, knew exactly what to do: He knocked the phone over and speed-dialed 911. How did Buddy know to do this? Because he was a specially trained assistance dog. When Buddy heard a voice on the other end of the line saying, “Hello, this is 911… Can you hear me?” the dog started barking loudly. “It’s pretty incredible,” a police sergeant said. Phoenix, Arizona, September 2008.
4. Early one spring morning, Judy Bayly’s breathing machine suddenly stopped working. Her Irish Setter, Lyric, tried to wake her up, but no luck. So Lyric’s emergency training kicked in, and the dog dialed 911 by pawing at a speed dial button. By the time help arrived, Judy Bayly was awake and in the middle of a full-blown asthma attack. She said her dog is a true “guardian angel.” Nashua, New Hampshire, March 1996.
5. A chubby Beagle named Belle got national attention and a few awards when she saved her owner’s life. When Kevin Weaver fell into a diabetic seizure, Belle bit into his cellphone’s “9” button, which was pre-set to call 911. “The next thing I know, I’m in the hospital,” Weaver told reporters. Without quick-thinking Belle’s help, “I would have slipped into a coma,” he said.
Unfortunately, Weaver died four years later. Clearly, he loved his cherished Beagle very much. On his MySpace page, he wrote, “My Hero in life is my Dog Belle As she saved my life more then once.” He also wrote, “Be sure that you appreciate Everything you’ve got And be thankful for the little things in life.” Ocoee, Florida, February 2006.
6. Jim Shapiro was suffering a heart attack and couldn’t get to the phone. So he gave the command to his jet-black 4-year-old dog, Bella — “Touch!” he told her, and she ran to hit a special pedal on the telephone programmed to notify emergency officials. Springfield, Missouri, March 2010.
7. A tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Cosette reportedly saved her owner literally dozens of times. According to PetSide.com, a former model named DebbieLynn had a number of medical problems after a bad car accident, including her heart sometimes stopping while she was asleep. The Yorkie, trained to detect heart regularities by sound, had learned to dial 9-1-1 (the actual numbers, not speed dial) from any telephone — and proceeded to do so more than 30 times during medical emergencies.