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"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us."
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Family Pit Bull saves boy, 9, from being abducted:
Fort Collins-A family's pit bull saved a 9-year-old from being abducted fromhis backyard, and police searched Tuesday for the suspect.

"Destiny" came to the aid of the boy Monday night as a stranger allegedly was pulling him over the fence. The dog charged the assailant, who let go of the child and fled, accordingto thefamily.

"I got her to protect my kids," Wayne Myers, the boy's father, said of his 2-year-old dog. "I love pit bulls to death."

Myers said he became aware that something was wrong while working on acar in his driveway in the 3000 block of West Laporte Avenue about 7:20 p.m.

"Destiny started barking, and it wasn't playful," Myers said.

Myers said he ran through his house and into the backyard and saw a manhe described as about 6 feet tall, in his mid-30s, weighing about 160 pounds, balding with brownhair and a mustache and wearing a blue T-shirt and jean shorts, walking away through a neighbor's yard.

Myers instructed his sons to go inside while he told a roommate to call the police.

But while the boy was picking up toys, the man returned and attemptedto pull the boy over the fence while covering his mouth, Myers said. Destiny's response savedthe boy from further harm, the family believes.

"That's what I got her for," Myers said. "That's what I trained her to do."

Larimer Countydeputies and investigators responded to the incident and swept the area with a canine team but were unable to find the man.

"We have gotten a composite sketch, are going door to door withit and are checking all of the registered sex offenders in the area," said Eloise Campanella, publicinformation officer for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. Campanella also said sheriff's deputies have increased their patrols of the area.

"In Larimer County, this is certainly an odd event," Campanella said.

The boy, whom the family has asked not be identified, was in relatively good shape Tuesday after a night without sleep, according to Myers.

"He is an extremely tough kid," Myers said. "He takes this stuff better than I do."

Staff writer JP Eichmiller can be reached at 303-820-1201 or
Stray Pit Bull saves Family:
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The wandering 65-pound Pit Bull mix might have
 seemed menacing to some passerby, but one woman will always remember him
as her "guardian angel
The dog, which authorities think is lost and not a stray, successfully
thwarted a robbery attack on a mother and her 2-year-old son, who were
held at knifepoint Monday afternoon.
The Florida woman, who has been identified by authorities simply as
"Angela," was leaving a playground with her toddler son in Port Charlotte
when a man approached her in the parking lot with a knife and told her
not to make any noise or sudden movements.
Angela didn't have to do either to protect herself and her child -- a dog
mysteriously ran to the scene and charged the man, who quickly fled.
"I don't think the dog physically attacked the man, but he went at him
and was showing signs of aggression, just baring his teeth and growling and
barking. It was clear he was trying to defend this woman," Animal Control
Lt. Brian Jones told Pet Pulse.
"I don't know what this man's intentions were, but it is very possible
this dog saved her life."
The exceptional part of the story, Jones said, is that the dog had never
met or even seen the people it quickly jumped to defend.
"You hear about family dogs protecting their owners, but this dog had
nothing to do with this woman or her kid," Jones said. "He was like her
guardian angel."
After the alleged thief ran away, Angela quickly placed her son, Jordan,
in the car and tried to drive off. Before she could, though, the dog jumped
into her backseat, waiting with her for the police and animal control
officers to arrive at the scene.
The dog was transported to a local shelter and if his owners don't step
forward within five days, Jones said, Angela and her family plan to adopt
the savior she named "Angel."
Animal control officers and shelter workers believe Angel is lost, and
not a stray, because of his good health, sturdy weight and mild temperament.
"It's funny, that someone's irresponsibility could have saved someone's
life," Jones said of Angel's possible owners.
For Angela, it doesn't matter where the dog came from, just that he was
there when she needed him most.
"I don't know what his [the thief's] intentions were -- I don't know why
he did it, but I'm glad that -- we call him Angel -- I'm glad that Angel
showed up because I don't know what would have happened," Angela told NBC2

Pit Bull saves 2 women from deadly cobra,
dies wagging his tail


The children in the Fronteras household refer to their dog as "kuya" ("big brother"), and he certainly proved it on the day he sacrificed his life to protect the family.

On Monday, Feb. 12 at around 2 p.m., "Chief", an American Pit Bull Terrier, rescued Liberata la Victoria, 87, and her granddaughter Maria Victoria Fronteras from a deadly cobra which had entered their house through an opening in the kitchen.

Liberata la Victoria and Chief had been watching TV on the sofa when suddenly Chief jumped up and alerted her to the presence of a cobra less than 10 feet away. Maria Victoria rushed in and pulled her grandmother into a separate room, hoping the snake would leave.

But when Maria Victoria later emerged from the room, she was terrified to find the cobra poised about two feet away. Equally startled, the cobra expanded its hood and appeared to be spitting venom as it prepared to strike.

"The snake was in front of us, maneuvering a deadly attack," says Maria Victoria. "I screamed out loud to ask for help." 1

That's when from "out of nowhere", Chief dashed between the cobra and the two women, using himself as a shield against the cobra's attacks. Chief then seized the cobra by the neck and slammed it into the floor, killing it.

But for Chief it was a Pyrrhic victory. In the struggle, he sustained a fatal bite to the jaw, and moments later he began gasping for breath and collapsed.

The family sought the help of a veterinarian, but they were told that nothing could be done. According to the vet, the bite was too close to Chief's brain, and the venom had already spread. Maria Victoria called her husband Marlone who, stunned by the news, rushed home immediately.

Ian de la Rama, a friend of the family, says it was less than 30 minutes from the time Chief had been bitten that he "went wobbly and lost control of his organs," 2 urinating and defecating uncontrollably. Yet he still kept clinging to life.

It wasn't until Marlone arrived that Chief finally let go.

Ian de la Rama describes, "Chief gave his two deep breaths and died. He was fighting andsaving his last ounces of breath to see a glimpse of his master for the last two seconds of his life." 1

Ian adds that the last thing Chief did as he gazed up at Marlone was wag his tail.


Bella – Her Story from South Africa

A True Staffordshire Bull Terrier!


Johannesburg, South Africa, has become known, in recent times, as the crime capital of the world.


Monday, 20 October, 1997, drove this fact home amongst Staffordshire Bull Terriers across the globe. This was the day that Bella was killed defending her mistress from an attempted armed hijacking.

Nicole Russell was standing near her garage at 8:00 am, about to leave for work, when she heard the squeal of tires. Her first thought when she saw the silver-grey car was that it was someone looking for directions.

"As I looked up, all four of the car's doors opened and four armed men jumped out of the car and started running towards me," she said.

"The leader told me to hand over my car keys and not to make any noise. I did exactly what I was told. I didn't make a sound. I had read somewhere that it was important to stay calm when confronted by hijackers, so I just held out both my arms so they could take my keys and remove my jewelry."

In the confusion Nicole didn't realize she had handed them her house keys instead of her car keys, and while one of the men battled to remove her steering lock, another started ripping off her jewelry.

"I could see they were nervous," she said. "The man in my car kept yelling that the lock wouldn't open. Then one of the hijackers grabbed me by the arm and began pulling me towards their car."


"It was then that I started screaming. They became very aggressive and one of them hit me in the face with the butt of his gun, but at the time I barely felt the blow."


Alerted by her daughter's screams, Dawn Russell pressed a panic buttonin the house and rushed into the garden, but when she tried to go to Nicole's aid, she was attacked with a knife. It was then that Bella, the family's four year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, came to the rescue.

Bella, who had followed Dawn into the garden, lunged at the man with the knife, managing to bite him several times on the legs before being shot in the head. Despite her injury, Bella continued the attack, until the men panicked and fled. At one point, after having fired the shot at Bella, the same hijacker pointed his gun at Nicole and pulled the trigger. There was an empty click. Whether the chamber was empty or whether the gun had simply misfired, we will never know. In any event, Bella had taken the bullet for Nicole.


A shocked and emotional Nicole recalled the incident.


"I remember everything as if it was in slow motion. One of the men looked at me and then slowly pointed the gun at Bella and pulled the trigger."


"After the men fled, Bella just sat down and rolled over. I went and held her. At first there was no blood. She just lay there quietly, looking at me."


A few minutes later Bella died.


During the autopsy performed to extract the bullet from Bella's body, it was found that her heart was completely devoid of blood. She had fought so hard and so courageously that there wasn't a drop of blood left in her heart.


The story of Bella's valiant effort to save her owner captured the hearts of the Johannesburg public, and of Stafford fans all over the world. The Russell’s were swamped with messages of condolence and breeders from as far afield as Cape Town offered to give them a new puppy.


"You can't imagine how much we miss her," said Nicole. "She was one of the family. I would always give Bella the milk from my cereal or the uneaten crust from my toast when my mother wasn't looking, because she didn't want us feeding her at the table. At breakfast the morning after Bella's death I almost called her for her milk, and then it suddenly struck me that she wasn't there to give it to."


Like most proud animal owners, Nicole remembers all Bella's quirky traits, like her habit of yapping or biting the air if she felt the family were not giving her enough attention, or her never-ending fascination with chasing the neighbor’s cat.


"We named her Bella, which means beautiful, because an Italian gentleman used to say that to me and it seemed appropriate for her," said Nicole.


"My father is devastated by her loss. Bella used to sit in the crook of his arm and watch television every night. When she was spayed at six months, my dad cried for days."


This was not the first time Bella had risked her life to save the family. She had been stabbed three months before by an intruder. Nicole's father, Des, noticed the stab wound in Bella's back when he tried to pick her up that evening.


Bella is buried at the Booysens Animal Cemetery. Nicole provided the wording for Bella's headstone. "Bella, May 1993 - October 1997. Greater love hath no dog than this, that she should lay down her life for her master."

Bella was honored posthumously by the SPCA. Tributes and stories about Bella were carried in every major newspaper in South Africa. Helen Park, owner of the Stafford E-mail List and the on-line magazine, The International Stafford, published a new page dedicated to Bella.


Helen said, "This is what the magazine is all about: to bring Stafford fanciers from all over the world together, to keep them aware of what is going on with the breed in all the world's corners."


"And, perhaps most importantly, to present to all the world the truth about our beloved and giving Stafford’s: present them as we know them to be - and not as the media would portray them - for then those like Bella shall not have died in vain."


"As Juanita said, "She was a good 'un." This says it all. Hug your Stafford’s close tonight, everyone. And remember Bella, who gave all."


On Saturday 8 November 1997, the Pretoria Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club and Graeme Stewart, representing the Stafford e-mail List, presented Nicole, the victim, and Lee, Bella's owner, with awards in Bella's honor.


Graeme's award was a framed collection of all the messages of condolence that were received from the Stafford List.


When Graeme made the presentation to Nicole and Lee, he said, "As a member of an international e-mail list dedicated to Staffy Lovers around the world, I was saddened when I heard and read about the terrible events that had happened to Nicole, Bella and their family, the Russell’s."


"The list that I have mentioned is one that allows the exchange of ideas or views with others around the world instantly. I immediately submitted a transcript of the newspaper story to the list. This would then have been relayed to all the Staffy-loving members. I had requested that if anyone would like to send a message to the Russell family, they could via a reply to me."


"The responses I received have come from as far a field as Karen Dawes of San Diego, California, to Susan, Wendy and 4 year old Lottie (a Staffy in Sydney, Australia)."


"A message was also received from George Teker and Bruno. Bruno is the 1997 SPCA Dog of the Year. An award he received for helping George's mother after she had suffered a paralyzing stroke."


"Of the many messages received, I think the following, is a perfect tribute to a dog with the courage of Bella. Steve Stone, from Mayhill, New Mexico, wrote: I quote "Bella epitomized all that is good and true in the Stafford. She was game, she was the genuine article, and no greater praise can be given to any dog. I would rather have one Bella in my lifetime than a baker's dozen of CC and BIS winners who would not do what she did. In my personal Stafford opinion, she ranks alongside another great South African Staffordshire Bull Terrier - Jock of the Bushveld. Not long ago, someone posted this question to the list: Where are today's great Staffordshire Bull Terriers? Bella has just answered that question." End of quote."



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