Karen B. London
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Dog Provided Girl Warmth and Safety All Night
Just one example of how dogs save people’s lives
The bond between kids and dogs can be lifesaving

Victoria Bensch could have frozen to death or been attacked by a wild animal. Instead, thanks to her dog Blue, she is safe and back at home with her parents. She wandered from her home late last Thursday and spent the night lost in freezing temperatures half a mile away in an area where coyotes and other predators are a concern. Blue huddled with her, which is probably what kept her warm enough to survive, and his presence likely provided safety as well.


What really may have saved Victoria’s life is her strong bond with the dog. He did not want to leave her, but instead chose to remain with her all night. The entire family is grateful to their faithful Queensland healer, and that includes one aunt who says she doesn’t even like animals. (Though her new love for Blue clearly shows.)

Many people feel as though their dog has saved their life. Often this is a figurative statement meaning that the dog played a pivotal role in helping them get through a dark time: recent widowhood, a divorce, job loss, financial hardship, the death of a friend, dealing with a sick family member, moving someplace new, loneliness, depression and suicidal thoughts, an abusive situation, or any other kind of hard time that we humans face. Other times, as in the case of Victoria Bensch, the way dogs save our lives is absolutely literal: keeping us alive when facing threats of criminal violence, extreme temperatures, attacks by wild animals, an imminent natural disaster or possible exposure to toxic substances, just to name a few possibilities.
The great love we share with our dogs can have amazing consequences. How has your dog saved your life—literally or otherwise?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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