The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA has chosen the “Dog and Cat of the Year” for 2016. The following writing is from the ASPCA site.
ASPCA Dog of the Year: Ruthie
Most comfort dogs work in hospitals or other care centers, helping people cope with everyday stresses. But Ruthie, a Golden Retriever, has been called to service during some of the nation’s most tragic and devastating events, including the Orlando nightclub shooting, the shooting of police officers in Dallas, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown school shooting, as well as tornadoes in Oklahoma and wildfires in California.
At those sites, Ruthie has provided relief to both victims and responders, keeping stress levels down, and providing comfort to grief-stricken survivors.
Ruthie’s presence was particularly impactful during her six weeks in Newtown, the scene of the Sandy Hook tragedy, where she helped traumatized young girls and boys—who hadn’t spoken since the shootings—come out of their shells.
Blake, a black cat in Fort Worth, Texas, had no idea what was in store for him when Glen Schallman walked into the Humane Society of North Texas last winter. Blake had been going through a tough time since being rescued from a hoarding situation and undergoing a host of veterinary procedures. But his life changed when Schallman, who suffers from three serious brain conditions and daily intense seizures, showed up simply looking for a new friend. Blake literally jumped up and down to get Schallman’s attention, and the two bonded immediately.
Schallman suffered a seizure the same day he brought Blake home, and Blake reacted by patting Schallman’s arm with his paws. A few days later, Blake proved he truly understood Schallman’s dilemma when Schallman had a life-threatening seizure while sleeping. Blake saved Schallman’s life by alerting him with a sharp bite to his toe. Schallman says that Blake has a sixth sense about detecting oncoming seizures and credits the cat with saving his life.