Hero Dog Honored in NYC

Toby, the ASPCA Dog of the Year, fetches an award for saving his owner’s life.

Animal heroes and their owners gathered in New York City last week for the annual ASPCA Humane Awards luncheon, which honors pets who save human lives.

On hand to accept an award was ASPCA Dog of the Year Toby, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever who saved owner Debbie Parkhurst’s life when he jumped on her chest, dislodging a piece of apple that had gotten stuck in her throat.

“Normally I peel them, but I read in Good Housekeeping magazine that the skin has all the nutrients, so I ate the skin, and that’s what caused me to choke,” Parkhurst of North East, Md., told the Associated Press. “I couldn’t breathe and I was in a panic when Toby jumped on me. He never does that, but he did, and saved my life.”

The luncheon also honored a cat named Winnie who woke her sleeping family as their house filled with deadly carbon monoxide. “Winnie jumped on the bed and was clawing at me, with a kind of angry meow,” Cathy Keesling of New Castle, Ind., said. “When I woke up I felt like a crowbar had hit me across the head.”

Keesling’s son and husband were already unconscious, and emergency workers said the family was minutes away from death.

To view photos of Toby, Winnie, and other winners, click here.

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