LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A dog, who had been adopted from a shelter, was honored by spcaLA Monday for saving his owner’s life.
“Bear,” a Shiloh German Shepherd, is more than Debbie Zeisler’s best friend — she calls him her hero.
“I rescued him. He rescued me. So that’s kind of a life for a life and it’s a bond that cannot be broken,” Zeisler said.
She adopted Bear three years ago from a Texas animal shelter near her home. Bear was intended to be for her mother, but Bear did not want to leave Zeisler’s side.
“Within three days, he started showing me signs that he knew that something was wrong,” said Zeisler, who suffers from complex partial seizures.
Bear, without any known training, would remind her to take medication and even tried to keep her home one hot day in May when he sensed an oncoming seizure.
“When you’re body is about to undergo a big physical change, it begins to smell a little bit different, that humans perhaps can’t smell, but some animals can,” explained Madeline Bernstein of the spcaLA.
But Zeisler ignored Bear’s warning.
“I pushed past him, because I was waiting for something in the mail. And he tried to tell me. All I remember is falling down those stairs and the next thing I knew, the sheriff’s department was there,” Zeisler said.
Bear had gone for help.
“He circled the entire area that I live at. Looking for somebody,” she said.
He found an animal control officer.
“He made a beeline for her truck, jumped in and was literally like jiggling his head, so she could see he had tags. And that’s when she saw that he was a seizure dog. That’s how they got me,” Zeisler said.
“This is a shelter Shepherd, who saves her life every single day and is spcaLA’s 30th National Hero Dog recipient,” Bernstein announced at the ceremony.
The spcaLA and Zeisler want everyone to first consider adopting shelter dogs before buying from breeders.
“Because there is a hero in every shelter. And I know that for a fact,” Bernstein said.
In addition to the national honor, Bear also received a free year’s worth of food from Natural Balance, a basket of treats and a two-day stay in Los Angeles.