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Shelter Dog Turned Hero

By Diane Herbst


Photo: courtesy of the SPCA Los Angeles.

click image to enlarge

Three years ago, Debbie Zeisler was looking for a German shepherd at a Texas shelter. "When I asked for one, they said, 'We have one, but he's in the back,’” says Zeisler, of Millsap, Texas. "I asked why and they said because he's too big and too hairy." Zeisler was led to the back, and found the only dog there, alone. "I opened the cage and he was all over me," she says. "He was so sweet, that was it, I adopted him on the spot."


Since then, Bear has — without any training — developed into Zeisler's therapy dog, alerting her countless times before her sometimes daily seizures would strike.
On May 6, Bear was honored with the 30th National Hero Dog award by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.


Last July, as Zeisler went to check her mail, Bear tried to stop her. Ignoring him, she began to go down her stairs but suffered a seizure, knocking her unconscious. "Bear ran to all the neighbors' front doors, but nobody answered," recalls Zeisler. By chance, an animal control officer happened to see Bear frantically running and led the officer to Zeisler, who by then was conscious.


Photo: courtesy of the SPCA Los Angeles.

click image to enlarge

"She (the officer) told me she'd never seen anything like what Bear did," says Zeisler. When an ambulance came to check Zeisler out, Bear jumped in first before she climbed in.


Bear seems to have a super-natural ability to recognize the signs of imminent seizures. "He will whine and put his head in my hands," says Zeisler.  "He is letting me know I need to sit down, I have literally crawled to get my medicine (to stop the seizures)."


The seizures began after a traumatic mule-riding accident in 1990. Three days after Zeisler adopted Bear, he picked up on the seizures, detecting them five minutes before they hit Zeisler. "I was in shock," says Zeisler. "I was like how did he learn this?


"I have had dogs all my life," she continues, "and I've never had a dog like this."


In honor of Bear and his Hero award, Freekibble.com will donate 5,000 meals of Halo Spot's Stew to the Parker County Animal Shelter, where Debbie adopted Bear.


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