On July 10, 2014, Rob Sheardown adopted an Anatolian Shepherd from the Windsor/Essex Humane Society. Her name was Bella and it quickly became apparent that she was an extremely obedient and well-trained dog. At the time, Rob thought he was simply coming home with a new companion for himself. He never imagined that rescuing Bella would in turn save the life of another person.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon in late November 2014, Rob returned to his Windsor apartment with Bella after their daily walk in the park. As always, Rob walked into his building towards the lobby with Bella by his side, and the duo proceeded to enter the ground floor elevator together. Being the obedient dog that she was, Bella would never stray from this routine or challenge any of Rob’s orders. That is, until this day.
For reasons unknown to Rob at the time, Bella refused to get into the elevator. Instead, Bella tugged at her leash, pulling him away from the area and back towards the lobby. Confused by her bizarre behaviour, Rob tried to redirect Bella, ordering her several times to follow him, but no matter how many times he tried, she wouldn’t listen. Finally, Bella tugged on her leash hard enough that she was able to pull Rob away from the elevator completely and lead him further into the lobby, behind one of the couches.
Completely perplexed, Rob followed Bella and to his surprise, behind the couch on the floor lay an elderly man clearly in need of help. He was pale, sweating profusely and distraught. Rob immediately helped the man up on the couch and asked him what was wrong. The man complained of severe pain in his chest – it soon became quite evident that this man was having a heart attack. Rob called an ambulance, and as they waited for it to arrive, Bella sat beside the man with her paw on his arm. Bella did not leave his side until paramedics arrived to take him to the closest hospital.
Thanks to Bella’s keen intuition, persistence, and determination, the elderly man received the medical attention he needed just in the nick of time. In a situation where every second counts, the paramedics who arrived on the scene said that if the man had remained on his own in the lobby for much longer, he would not have survived. Rob, being hard of hearing in one ear, and knowing how empty his lobby typically is on Sundays, is convinced that no one – not even himself – would have discovered the man in time, had it not been for Bella’s keen sense that someone was in need of help and her quick thinking.
To this day, Rob continues to be amazed at Bella and how she was able to come to the aid of a complete stranger. When Rob looks at Bella now, he no longer sees a dog who was rescued, but a dog who is a rescuer.