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Texas German Shepherd wins National Hero Dog award

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

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Debbie Zeisler and her German Shepherd dog Bear at the award ceremony in Los Angeles.

A 5-year-old German Shepherd from Parker County, Texas, was given the 30th National Hero Dog award on Monday by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.

The 100-pound dog, named Bear, received the award for taking excellent care of his owner, Debbie Zeisler. Zeisler suffers from seizures ever since a horse-riding accident that occurred 18 years ago.

The dog can detect a coming seizure, and leans on Zeisler’s legs so his owner will sit down and not risk a fall. This is not something that Bear was trained to do, he simply figured it out by himself. The dog also fetches his owner’s medicine.

Such protective instincts also probably saved his owner’s life.

On Saturday May 28, 2011, Bear tried to stop his owner from going outside. Zeisler, however, brushed past the dog and had a seizure while descending some steps in front of her Millsap home; she fell and was knocked unconscious. Bear then scratched the front door of each house in the neighborhood to get help. The dog’s activity was spotted by a Parker County animal control officer, who followed the dog to his owner.

Zeisler was then taken to the hospital, and Bear rode with his owner in the ambulance.

Zeisler adopted Bear three years ago, when she found the dog at the Weatherford Animal Shelter in Texas. She originally wanted to get a German Shepherd for her mother, but when she met Bear, she decided to keep the dog for herself.

“This just goes to show how amazing shelter dogs can be,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of SPECALA. "If Debbie had not adopted Bear, where would she and Bear be today?”

Bear’s National Hero Dog prize includes a year supply of free dog food and a commemorative plaque. The ceremony took place yesterday in Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles.

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