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The Ruff Report: News about dogs and heroic deeds

Quick action by owner saves dog's life

Clyde got the shock of his life - literally.

The 1-year-old Chihuahua mix dog bit into an electrical cord at his home and was all but dead until his owner, Dale Griffin of Bakersfield, California, rushed to his aid.

"He was attached to the (heater) cord by the mouth, nearly in a fetal position and his muscles were tightened up completely," Griffin told the Bakersfield Californian. "I could see sparks inside of his mouth. That’s when I grabbed the cord and yanked it out of the wall."

Griffin said he was unable to remove Clyde’s tongue from being lodged in his throat. "In my mind he was dead," he said.

Griffin performed CPR, doing compressions on Clyde's chest and blowing air into the dog's mouth. "I felt (mucus) going into his lungs, but he was still not breathing," Griffin told the newspaper. "I gave him a couple more chest compressions and put my mouth over his nose. "I prayed to my lord, ‘Don’t take this dog from me now.’ "

Clyde's feet were pointing up, so Griffin turned him over, thinking all was lost, "but he took off running."

Griffin said his only CPR training was 27 years ago when he was in junior high school. (January 3, 2009)

Dog recognized for saving California master's life

Three years ago, Adrian McKee was in danger of dying from a condition that causes her potassium levels to drop dangerously low and leads to heart failure.

Today, the resident of Big Bear City, California, is doing well because her dog, Pearl, a trained service dog, used the phone to summon emergency crews and guide paramedics to where an unconscious McKee lay inside her home, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside reports.

"She has been a good companion and a good helpmate her entire life." McKee told the newspaper. "She's just a very loving, warm dog."

Pearl's "extraordinary determination" to save McKee has been recognized by the Humane Society of the United States. Pearl is the runner-up in the group's first Dogs of Valor contest, which drew about 120 nominations from across the country.

"We all have a story about why a dog is a hero to us each and every day," Humane Society official Colin Berry said. "(This award) is about a singular act of extraordinary heroism where a dog steps beyond that typical bond and goes on to save a human."

That is exactly what Pearl did three years ago when McKee, 60, whose health had been deteriorating, needed emergency help. McKee, who also has trouble with her mobility, balance and eyesight, was on the phone when she fainted.

Pearl, a boxer mix, then sprung into action, just like she was trained to do. She knocked the phone receiver off the hook and stepped on one of the large emergency buttons to dial the 9-1-1 operator. Pearl then opened the door and ran to the gate to greet rescuers.

"She opened the door and let them in, then came and sat by my head," a proud McKee said.(October 11, 2008)

Florida man saves dog from clutches of shark

One moment, all was normal as Jake, a 2-year-old rat Terrier, took his daily swim retrieving soaked coconuts at the beach in Islamorada, Florida.


The next moment, the 14-pound pooch, was in the jaws of a 5-foot shark about to be eaten.
But thanks to his owner, Greg LeNoir, 53, of Islamorada, the little guy will swim again. LeNoir dove into the water and fought off the shark.


"I clenched my fists and dove straight in with all my strength, like a battering ram,'' LeNoir told the Miami Herald. "I hit the back of the shark's neck. It was like hitting concrete."


The shark let go of Jake, who swam to shore trailing blood from punctures in his abdomen, chest and back, LeNoir said. Jake is expected to fully recover.


LeNoir and his wife, Tessalee, adopted Jake from an animal shelter. "We have no children," LeNoir said. "Jake became our child. When I saw the shark engulf him, I thought, 'This can't be the end.' '' (
October 4, 2008)

Idaho family rescues dog from mountain lion

An Idaho family is holding out hope that their 13-year-old Maltese can lead a reasonably normal life after being attacked by a mountain lion.


Tom and Tracey Brightman of Parker Gulch, who have owned Piglet since she was a puppy, say the dog was bitten in the head and neck during the attack and lost an eye, the Idaho Mountain Express reports.


Piglet, who got her name from being only 1.5 pounds at birth, is being treated at St. Francis Pet Clinic in Ketchum.


"The biggest thing I'm worried about is are we going to get her eyesight back," veterinarian Karsten Fostvedt told the newspaper. "She's out of shock. ... I think she's going to be fine in every other way."


Piglet was in the Brightman's backyard when the big cat attacked. The mountain lion probably jumped a 4-foot fence into the backyard, grabbed Piglet by the head and jumped back over the fence, Tracey Brightman said.


Brightman heard the commotion and she and her border collie, Daisy, confronted the big cat. "(The mountain lion) had her on the other side of the fence," she said. "Why he didn't run away with her, I don't know. We were making a lot of noise."


Tom Brightman heard the commotion and joined Tracey and Daisy. "I think it was when I came outside that the cat saw it was up against three large animals and may have decided this is not such a good idea," he said. (
September 20, 2008)

Virginia dog defies death with love and care

Tini Harvey is lucky to be alive - literally.

The 5-year-old miniature poodle, owned by Sandra and Wes Harvey of Norfolk, Virginia, was dead after she slipped trying to jump onto a couch and hit her head on a coffee table.

"I mean, the dog was dead," Wes Harvey told The Virginian-Pilot. "I saw a lot of head trauma when I was in Vietnam in 1968," the Vietnam War veteran said. "When I worked with those guys, first they had to get a heartbeat."

So Harvey, who uses oxygen for a lung condition, figured he could try the same battlefield treatment with Tina. "I figured if we could get the blood moving around, she would keep her functions," he said.

Harvey told his wife, Sandy, to hold the oxygen tube to the poodle's nose while he did chest compressions. After about a minute, he listened with his stethoscope and picked up a faint thump. If they stopped, it stopped, so they kept going.

After 20 minutes, Tini's eyelids flickered, toes jerked and legs twitched, and after 45 minutes, she rolled over and tried to sit up.

The Harveys then took Tini to an animal hospital where she was given medicine to reduce brain swelling.

Tini's recovery has been slow, but the Harveys have helped her every moment. They have slept with Tini in between them, used an eyedropper to squirt water in Tini's mouth and fed her a tablespoon of food at a time. For a month, they carried her everywhere.

And now, four months later, Tini's can bark and chew again and enjoys sitting in Sandy's lap thanks to her dedicated owners. (September 20, 2008)

Dog's phone call saves Arizona owner's life

Arizona man has a new understanding of the meaning of the phrase "man's best friend."


Joe Stalnaker of Scottsdale was having a seizure when his assistance dog Buddy, a German shepherd, telephoned 911 for help, saving Stalnaker's life, The Associated Press reports.

A dispatcher repeatedly asked if the caller needed help as Buddy whimpered and barked.

Police went to the home and found Stalnaker, Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said. Stalnaker spent two days in a hospital and recovered from the seizure.

"It's pretty incredible," Clark said. "Even the veteran dispatchers - they haven't heard of anything like this."

Stalnaker adopted Buddy at the age of 8 weeks from Michigan-based Paws with a Cause, which trains assistance dogs, Clark said. Buddy was trained to get the phone if Stalnaker began to have seizure symptoms.

Stalnaker's seizures are from a head injury he suffered about 10 years ago during a military training exercise. Buddy, now 18 months old, is able press programmed buttons until a 911 operator is on the line, Clark said. (September 20, 2008)

Dog saves Ohio owner from intruder

An Ohio woman who was stabbed 32 times by an intruder is alive thanks to her pet dog.


Gracie, a small Labrador-beagle mix, came to the assistance of her master, Virginia Buckley, 27, who was being attacked in her Springfield home by the intruder, the Springfield News-Sun of Ohio reported. The 2-year-old mutt grabbed the intruder by the back of his leg and began shaking him as hard as she could after Buckley, bleeding from the stab wounds, kneed the man in the groin.

"He got up and ran out the door with her attached to his pants," Buckley told the newspaper. "And she stood at the door growling, daring him to come back."


Buckley was asleep in her bedroom when she awoke to noises downstairs. When she went to check, she found the intruder, who pushed her down and attacked her with a knife. Many of the wounds are crisscrossing cuts across her chest, stomach, thighs and defensive wounds on her forearms.
(August 30, 2008)

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