Inductees into the Oklahoma Pet Hall of Fame

Saturday, January 26th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Most every pet holds a special place in its owner’s heart. The Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association honored three very special dogs Saturday, one that made the ultimate sacrifice for his owner.

As News on Six reporter Steve Berg explains, this Hall of Fame is only for those with four legs. Plenty of laughter filled the air at this year's induction to the Oklahoma Pet Hall of Fame.

Pets always provide lots of amusement. But it wasn’t just laughter, tears came too, as people heard stories about sacrifice that not many humans would make. Like a real-life Lassie, Gus a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd, ran for help when his owner Jack Stowers of Lone Wolfe, suffered a painful hip dislocation and was trapped on a tractor at his farm. "When they got me in the ambulance well he wasn't gonna stay there, he jumped in there."

Dogs like Gunner do jobs that humans are not able or perhaps not even willing to do. A trained search-and-rescue dog, the 8-year-old Rottweiller has worked many difficult disaster scenes, including the World Trade Center, where his efforts brought closure to 33 families. Gunner worked 12 hours a day for a week straight, to the point of exhaustion. His owner says it took an emotional toll on the dog. John Randall, Hall of Fame dog owner, "After day 7, by day 7 on the pile it was just like, I couldn't bring him out and that's why we came home in fact."

But the special bond between dog and human has never been more apparent than it was with 11-year-old Sam. Ron Hall called the 160-pound Rottweiller a gentle giant. But when he was pinned by an angry bull at his ranch, Sam leaped to the rescue without hesitation, biting the bull on the neck to free his owner. The bull fell on Sam and crushed his ribs, and injury that proved fatal. "My grandmother used to tell me a human being saves another human being and dies, it's an automatic trip to heaven, if there was a dog heaven, Sam's in it." Sam's grave reads, "Here lies a true friend to the very end." Not a dog or a pet, but a friend.

If you'd like to visit the Oklahoma Pet Hall of Fame, it's located at the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association office in Edmond.