In 1954, Ken-L Ration began honoring exceptional canines by awarding the Dog Hero Of The Year Award.  The program is currently sponsored by Kibbles n' Bits.  Let's have a look at the truly inspiring stories of some recent winners, our top 7 favorite dog heroes:
#2: Woodie (Won In 1980)
A collie mix owned by Rae Anne Knitter of Cleveland, Woodie leapt off an eighty-foot cliff to rescue Knitter's fiance, Ray Thomas, from drowning.  One afternoon, Rae Anne, Ray, and Woodie were walking along a nature trail in the Rocky River Reservation when Ray, an amateur photographer, decided to capture a spectacular view from atop a steep shale cliff.  Rae Anne and Woodie waited on the path wihile Ray disappeared over the top of the hill.  Suddenly, the usually well-behaved Woodie began twisting and tugging to escape from Rae Anne.  She let go of Woodie, who raced ahead.  When Rae Anne reached the rink she saw Ray lying unconscious in a stream eighty feet below.  Woodie, who broke both hips in jumping down, was by his side, nudging Ray's face to keep it out of the water.  Both Ray and Woodie survived.
#1: King (Won In 1981)
On the morning of December 26, 1981, the Carlson family of Granite Falls, Washington, was asleep when a fire broke out in their utility room.  King, a German shepard mix, was sleeping in the adjoining family room.  Instead of escaping through a door that had been left open for him, King clawed and chewed his way through the plywood door that separated him from the utility room.  Then he charged through the burning room into the bedroom where sixteen year old Pearl Carlson was sleeping.  He woke her and the two rushed to her parent's bedroom to alert them.  Howard Carlson had a lung condition and could not move as quickly as his wife and daughter, but King remained by him until the man was safely outside. King was badly burned on his paws, had a gash on his back, and splinters in his mouth, but made a full recovery.
#7: Bo (Won In 1982)
Bo, A labrador retriever, was rafting on the Colorado River with a puppy named Dutchess and their owners, Laurie and Bob Roberts of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, when an eight-foot wave flipped the raft over.  Rob and Dutchess were thrown free, but Laura and Bo were trapped underneath.  Bo finally emerged, but then dived back under the raft.  He reappeared towing Laurie by the hair. Once she was free of the raft, Laurie grabbed Bo's tail and let the dog pull her across the strong current to shore.
#3: Villa (Won in 1983)
During a severe blizzard in Villas, New Jersey, eleven year old Andrea Anderson was blown into a large snowdrift about forty feet from her home.  Disoriented, blinded by snow being blown by sixty-mile-an-hour winds, she began to scream for help.  Villa, a one-year-old black Newfoundland puppy belonging to Mrs. Lynda Veit, heard Andrea's cries and, for the first time in her life, leapt over the five-foot-fence surrounding her run.  Villa ran eighty feet to the snowdrift, found Andrea, and licked her face reassuringly.  Then she circled the girl to clear the snow entrapping her.  Once Andrea was free, Villa cleared a path for her through the blinding snow and led her to the front door of Andrea's house.
#4: Leo (Won in 1984)
Leo, a four-year-old standard poodle from Hunt, Texas, was playing near the Guadalupe River with eleven-year-old Sean Callahan and Sean's nine-year-old sister, Erin.  Suddenly, Leo and the two children stumbled upon a five-and-a-half foot diamondback rattlesnake.  Leo lunged between the snake and Sean, allowing his young master to escape. Leo received six poisonous bites to the head.  He almost died, but made a remarkable recovery.
#6: Reona (Won in 1989)
On October 17, 1989, a devastating earthquake hit northern California.  After the first jolt, Reona, a two and a half year old rottweiler owned by Jim Patton of Watsonville, heard screams from across the street.  Reona bolted out the door, jumped three fences (something she had never done), and raced into the home of five year old Vivian Cooper.  The terrified child was standing in the kitchen when Reona
#5: Willy (Won in 1991)
Betty Souder of Los Alamos, New Mexico, was sleeping soundly when she was awakened by her nine-year old weimaraner, Willy. "I couldn't seem to wake up," she later recalled.  But Willy persisted.  When Souder finally stood, she felt dizzy and she noticed that Willy was weaving, too.  Almost too weak to pick up the telephone, Souder finally managed to place a call to a freind.  It turned out that a faulty furnace had leaked, filling the house with poisonous carbon monoxide gas.  Had Souder slept a few minutes longer, she probably would not have been able to make her life-saving call.
Our Top 7 Favorite Winners Of The Dog Hero Award!
pushed her against the cabinets and sat on her.  Seconds later, a large microwave oven on top of the refrigerator came crashing down where Vivian had been standing.
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