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Incredible rescue of elderly couple by heroic wolf dog

Custom_sam_sheepdog_300_thumb By Martha | | Comments (20)

The Fertigs and Shanda the heroic wolf-dog

There are plenty of stories of dogs performing acts of heroism, saving their guardians from house fires, wild animals and other dangers. But the story of Shana, a wolf and German Shepherd mix and her rescue of Eve and Norman Fertig one fall night, stands out as one of the most remarkable acts of loyalty and heroic bravery of a dog, ever.

Back in 2006, the Fertigs, both 81 years old, were tending to the injured animals in their forested animal sanctuary in Alden, New York as part of their nightly routine when a massive storm hit suddenly. The power went out in their aviary and Eve realized something was wrong. They went outside to see what was happening and saw trees toppling and heavy snow falling. The couple was unprepared for the elements as neither had warm clothes on since it had just been a clear, crisp fall day just a few hours ago. Exposed to the freezing cold, they hugged each other for warmth as temperatures dropped rapidly and trees continued to fall around them. Said Eve, "I wasn't prepared for this … I thought, 'we're trapped, we're absolutely trapped,'" Eve said.

Shana and the FertigsThe Fertigs huddled in a narrow alley between their hospital building and the aviary, where they were sheltered from falling trees. But they couldn't climb over the trees without injuring themselves, and the path to their home was blocked by the collapsed trees. She turned to her husband and said, 'Norman, we can't stay here, we'll die." Luckily they had Shana with them.

Shana was Eve and Norman’s rescue from a puppy mill. They got her when she was only two-weeks-old and sick. That had been seven years earlier, and now the 160-pound dog would be their savior. Shana began digging a path in the snow with her teeth and claws underneath the fallen trees. After two hours, she had dug a 1-foot-wide tunnel 20 feet back to their home.

Shana then came back and barked at them to follow her. At first Norm was reluctant: "I had enough in Okinawa in a foxhole," referring to his service in World War II.  Eve retorted "'Norman, if you do not follow me, I will get a divorce,'" Married for 62 years the words caught Norm’s attention. "That did it. He said, 'a divorce? That would scandal our family.' I said, 'all of our family is dead, Norman!'"

Shana the heroic dogShana grabbed the sleeve of Eve’s jacket and Eve grabbed hold of her, climbing onto her back and holding onto her neck. Norman grabbed Eve's legs, and the dog pulled the two of them through her makeshift tunnel, under the trees to an opening in the fence near their home. They arrived at the fence around 2 a.m. in the morning "It was quite a distance," Eve said. "We get out and she pulls us out. We got on the back deck, got the back door open and we fell inside. And we laid there all night." As their home had no electricity and no heat, Shana lay ontop of them, heating them like a portable furnace until the following morning when the local fire department arrived.

"It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen in my life," Eve said. "She kept us alive. She really did," Eve said.

Shana later received a fire helmet from the local fire department and the Humane Animal Treatment's Hero's Award for Bravery, an award given to humans.




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Comments on this Article

What a great story! A loyal companion saving the lives of his loves ones. God Bless.
Well done, Shana. I just Googled Norman Fertig and see he went on to live another five years. (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/buffalonews/obituary.aspx?n=norman-fertig&pid=147760658) I did laugh at the threat of divorce.
A beautiful story from a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing. No divorce, right Norman?? LoL
yet another example of the renowned unpredictability and viciousness of the wolf hybrid, the reason many govts require them to be shot on sight. lovely couple, lovely dog.
Amazingly beautiful!
Amazing dog! I really can't help but believe that dogs like Shana are actually angels in disguise :) ... To the Fertigs, you're such a wonderful couple! Standing by each other through thick or thin. And for being so kind to animals, this is one of God's gift to you ... your dog, Shana :)
Steak dinners every week? Including mashed potatoes? I just read they are good for dogs! What an amazing dog they have!
Good dog, Shana. I would reward her for the rest of my life. If my dog saved me from certain death, I'd make sure they were set for life. Dogs are so loyal and will always protect their humans.
This is such a beautiful story and had to cry. I'm so sick and tired of people saying about this breed as bad or that breed as dangerous... Dogs are the most loving things this planet has to offer. While people are the most Dangerous this planet has to offer...
It doesn't get better than that. :-D
Awesome story - beautiful with a fine humor and warmth ... A story you could turn into a Christmas movie, it's just the right stuff! :)
What a wonderful story.
Owning a wolf hybrid I can relate to this story. My guy is so loyal and protective, yet gentle, loving and patient with my grand children. They are truly amazing companions and not what most people would assume. His only downfall is he would claw through the wall of any building to find me. I can not leave him anywhere but home or in the truck. Anyplace he is sure I am returning to. Have to leave him in the truck with the AC on to eat dinner out when we vacation. No worries. He is always in my sight ;)
I had a german shepard wolf mix. She was the sweetest most loving dog ever. I raised her from 5 weeks of age till the day she died. I still miss her so much everyday. I would love another if I ever have the chance.
Truly touching story, I pray they are still well and in good health given that they were in the80's six years ago. I pray that their rescue and Shana along with both of them are still setting an example of dog loving determination.
I cried the whole time I read this! My best friend an dog happens to be a large german shephard who is very protective of me and has refused to come in from the. Cold until I come home from work, ur story totally touched my heart. Bless all 3 of u!
I actually saw this episode on Pet Heroes... awesome dog. You are lucky you have Shana.... Love your dog.
Every good deed deserves another. You and she are truly blessed. How is Shana now? What a dog!!!
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