Monday, February 28, 2011
A few months ago I shared the touching story of a devoted dog named Ceili who became a hero when she saved her owner’s life. Ceili’s “dogged” determination prevented Danny from going upstairs to bed, and when he suffered a massive heart attack a few minutes later, she ran to alert Danny’s wife Gayle. Well, I’ve just received some exciting news about Ceili that I wanted to share. Because of Ceili’s lifesaving actions that night, she is a Top 10 Finalist for a national award given to dogs that have shown extraordinary courage or resolve to help a person in need!
I really hope Ceili wins, because she is a true canine hero and definitely deserves this wonderful award. But what I find most intriguing about this story is that several very important things had to happen before Ceili could save her owner’s life. I’m always fascinated by miracle stories that illustrate how things could have turned out differently “if not for X.” The “X” is always different, but the end result is pretty much the same.
So what needed to happen in order for Ceili to be able to help Danny? First, a great man named Larry Chusid had to have both a dream and unwavering resolve to see it become a reality. Larry wanted to open a pet food bank in Portland, Oregon, and his passion and vision for achieving this dream attracted the attention of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company. CANIDAE donated $125,000 of their pet food to Larry’s nonprofit organization to get the ball rolling, and the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in November of 2009.
Meanwhile, Ceili’s owners were struggling financially. They were considering the heartbreaking option of giving Ceili up when they learned of the Pongo Fund, which distributes free pet food twice a month to anyone with a genuine need. Danny and Gayle received some CANIDAE dog food for Ceili and she was able to remain with the family she loved. Not long after this, Ceili saved Danny’s life!
I spoke with Gayle, who was delighted by Ceili’s nomination for this award. “Ceili is Danny’s guardian angel dog. Without her, I would be a widow,” she said. Fifteen years ago, the couple found a tiny Lab mix puppy on the street and named her Ceili, because their daughter was an Irish step dancer and a céilí is a social gathering featuring Irish music and dance.
Ceili and Danny have always had a close bond, Gayle said, and now it’s even stronger. “When Danny was in the hospital, Ceili would look for him every day.” Ceili is on the CANIDAE PLATINUM® formula for seniors and overweight dogs, and is “doing great. Ceili loves her CANIDAE food and chows it down. Her coat looks good and she’s not itchy anymore,” said Gayle.
It’s days like this that make me proud to be associated with a company like CANIDAE. Without their generous donation to Larry Chusid’s charity, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank would likely not exist. And without this vital avenue for free pet food, many lives would be irrevocably altered, including those of Danny, Gayle and their “hero dog” Ceili.
Read more articles by Julia Williams