Golden Retriever wins Valor Dog of the Year

May 26, 2011 at 6:08 am Leave a comment

Paul Horton with Yogi

It’s like something from Rin Tin Tin or Lassie, except Yogi saved a real
human life.

Yogi, a Golden Retriever, was chosen by the Humane Society of the United
States as the 2011 Valor Dog of the Year from ten finalists.

His owner Paul Horton had taken Yogi along as he rode his mountain bike on
trails near his home in central Texas. Suddenly disaster struck. As he hit a
curb, the front wheels stopped and Horton went over the handlebars landing on
his head, knocking him unconscious.

When he woke, he couldn’t move and was bleeding from his nose and mouth. He
was hidden from any passers about 100 feet from a dead end road. Horton told
Yogi to get help, but Yogi didn’t want to leave him.

Finally, Yogi headed back to the main road, where Horton’s neighbors Bruce
and Maggie Tate were walking. The normally mellow dog barked frantically. The
Tates knew something was wrong and followed Yogi to Horton. There, Yogi stood
protectively by his friend.

“It’s pretty amazing that Yogi first stayed with Paul when he needed
to, then recognized us and came to get us,” Bruce Tate said. “Paul
was in desperate shape. He wasn’t in a place where there’s a lot of
traffic.”

Horton remains paralyzed from spinal injuries today. He has some movement in
his arms and hands and is beginning to get some sensations in his legs and
back. But without Yogi, there is a good chance he would have choked to death or
gone into shock.

Today Yogi doesn’t let Horton out of his sight, following him wherever he
goes in his wheelchair.

“It takes a very unique and special dog to do what Yogi did,” said
Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director of the Humane Society. “He
obviously has a true bond with Paul, and it just demonstrates how close we are
to our companion animals and how much we need them.”

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