Friday, January 25, 2013

Feel-Good Friday: Shana and Shiloh

Shiloh, a Wolf/Malamute hybrid, and her sister Jackie, an Alaskan Malamute

 Well, it's Feel-Good Friday again. The past two weeks I've run an incredible or inspiring story on Friday, and I thought maybe it was time to establish a Feel-Good Friday story officially as policy. Believe me, this is a feel-good story.

This story is about Shana. Shana was rescued from a puppy mill by the Fertigs when she was just two weeks old.  They were an elderly couple who had a wildlife sanctuary at their home in Alden, New York.

A few years later, in early October, Norman and Eve Fertig were caring for their animals in one of the sanctuary's buildings when the power went out. They went outside to find a surprise snowstorm so strong it was knocking down trees, one of which prevented them from moving. The snow had drifted into piles they couldn't get through.  At their advanced age, climbing over the tree wasn't an option. They thought for certain this was the end. They hugged each other for warmth and could not see how they would get out of the situation.

They hadn't considered what Shana, a German Shepherd Dog and wolf mix, could do. She was with the Fertigs when the power went out. When she realized the situation, she began digging a tunnel. Yes, that's right. Shana dug a tunnel to the house!  It took her a few hours, and when she finished she came back for the Fertigs. Eve draped herself over Shana's shoulders, too tired and frail to crawl through, and her husband held her legs while Shana pulled them both through the 20 feet long tunnel to their house. Once inside she curled up on them to keep them warm, and when the local fire company came to check on them in the morning to see how they'd weathered the storm that's how they found them.

What an amazing and touching story!! My great-grandmother's maiden name was Fertig. I'd like to think of this couple as some distant relatives, sharing the same compassion for animals as the rest of my family.  I also hope that if, God willing, my hubbie and I make it to such an advanced age, we have someone looking out for us the way Shana was looking out for the Fertigs that night.

My brother had a wolf hybrid years ago who went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2002 (I think).  She is on the left in the picture at the top of this page. Not only was she beautiful, but she was the smartest animal I've ever known, and I've had and have Australian Shepherds, who could give any breed a run for their money with intelligence.

Shiloh was very people-oriented. She followed her people everywhere. In fact she didn't even like when some of us were upstairs and some were downstairs, and our house was pretty small. She would get me out of bed by licking me until I gave in, or putting her paw gently right on my face.

Anyway, Shiloh was terrified of loud noises. Once, during a heavy snowstorm, I walked her to my grandmother's to check in on her. She lived about six blocks away, all uphill. Shiloh walked well on a leash and harness, and everything was going fine until a snow plow went by.  She pulled me all the way up two blocks of hills to get away from the plow. And when I say pulled me, I mean I lost my footing, fell on my butt, and she literally pulled me Marmaduke-style. 

I have no difficulty believing this story about Shana. I believe Shiloh could have and would have done the same.  Most of our pets would make efforts to save us, for sure, but the intelligence and perseverance in this story really resonates. This quote, attributed to Josh Billings, is exemplified in the story of Shana and the Fertigs.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

― Josh Billings

We've gotten some good pictures of pets misbehaving, but it's not too late to submit yours!  Are you telling me your pet never misbehaves? 

"Incredible Rescue of Elderly Couple by Heroic Wolf Dog." Dog Heirs.  26 Jan. 2012. web. 24 Jan. 2013

"Half Breed Wolf Dog Hero Rescues Elderly Owners from Snowstorm." Fox News.  6 Dec. 2006. web. 24 Jan. 2013

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