Top dog newsmakers of 2015


What were the dog highlights of 2015?

We chose the five stories that captured not only our attention, but in some cases, the world’s.

Air Canada pilot diverts flight to save dog

dog air canada
Blissfull unaware of all the fuss, Simba is happily reunited with German Kontorovich in Toronto. Photo courtesy of: CityNews – Toronto.

An Air Canada pilot made international headlines in September when he diverted a flight heading from Tel Aviv to Toronto in order to save the life of a dog onboard.

Simba, a seven-year-old French bulldog and first-time flyer, was riding in the cargo hold of the plane. Just prior to heading over the Atlantic Ocean, where temperatures plummet to well below freezing, the pilot noticed there was a malfunction with the cargo hold’s heating system. With Simba’s life on the line, the pilot took swift action and redirected the flight to Frankfurt. Simba was then placed on another flight and safely continued his journey home.

The ordeal cost approximately $10,000 in fuel and added an extra 75 minutes to the flight, but the 200+ passengers didn’t seem to mind the delay once they were aware of the little dog’s situation.

Simba was happily reunited with his owner, German Kontorovich, a few hours later at Pearson International Airport.

Quanto’s Law takes effect: harsh new consequences for killing service dogs

quanto dog
The tragic death of Quanto, seen here on duty, motivated authorities to push for harsher punishments. Photo Courtesy of: Edmonton Police Service.

In the summer of 2015, two years after the tragic stabbing death of Quanto, an Edmonton Police Service Dog, a new federal law was enacted to further protect service animals in the line of duty.

Quanto was killed while helping to apprehend a fleeing suspect in 2013.

The Quanto Law, which institutes a maximum jail sentence of five years for anyone intentionally killing a service animal, took effect in July. Prior to the Quanto Law, anyone who harmed or killed a police service dog or animal could only be charged for animal cruelty. The new law is intended to send a strong message to those who would hurt a service animal, and speaks to the important role these dogs play in law enforcement.

The new law also extends to other service animals used by the military, as well as to those used by individuals with disabilities or specific medical needs.

Canadian Beagle Miss P wins Best in Show at Westminster

Miss P dog
Miss P patiently poses for the cameras after her surprise win at Westminster. Photo courtesy of: Canadian Press.

Wagging her tail all the way to victory, Miss P made Canada proud when she earned top dog status by winning Best in Show at the 139th Westminster Kennel Club in New York City last February.

The BC-born four-year-old Beagle, handled by William Alexander of Ontario, beat out 2,700 other competitors, becoming only the second Beagle and sixth Canadian in history to win top prize at the world’s most prestigious dog show.

Miss P, short for Peyton, boasts an impeccable pedigree. Owned by Lori and Kaitlyn Crandlemire, along with American Eddie Dziuk, she is the grandniece of Uno, the first ever Beagle to take home Westminster’s top title in 2008.

Unlike Uno, who barked and bayed his way to becoming a crowd favourite, Miss P (registered name Tashtins Lookin for Trouble) quietly went about her business, wooing judges with her undeniable perfection. It was her star quality, though, that helped her beat the 15-1 odds.

Post-victory, Miss P visited with Donald Trump, enjoyed a walk-on role in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, and even made a guest appearance at a Chicago Blackhawks game. Of course, her favourite event was the steak lunch hosted by Sardi’s in New York!

Veteran handler Alexander says Miss P made his job easy. “Miss P is a combination of athlete and supermodel,” he stated in an interview with Maclean’s. “She never let me down. She didn’t make any mistakes.”

OVC first in Canada to offer new form of dialysis for dogs and cats

dog dialysis
Shmoo, a seven-year-old Alaskan Malamute, receives continuous renal replacement therapy. Photo courtesy of: Dr. Alex Bersenas, OVC.

Canine medicine took another step forward in May of 2015, when the Ontario Veterinary College Health Science Centre (OVC HSC) in Guelph, Ontario, announced a new advancement for kidney treatment in cats and dogs — the first facility in Canada do so.

The new dialysis treatment, known as Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT), temporarily replaces the function of the kidneys by removing waste products from the body. Used to treat acute kidney issues, blood is pumped from the animal’s body into a filtering system, then returned to the animal’s system once the blood has been filtered.

Although CRRT is not a long term solution for chronic kidney failure, it can provide time for the kidneys to recover to their full potential. It is used in cases such as toxicity, when an animal ingests foods or substances like grapes, raisins, ethylene glycol, and NSAIDs.

Late hero police dog’s genes saved for future breeding

police dog
With more than 500 arrests in over a decade of service, Judge, a Belgian Malinois, and his handler, were the most successful K-9 team in Winnipeg, if not all of Canada. Photo courtesy of: Winnipeg Police Service.

A remarkable Winnipeg police dog will continue to impact the police force for years to come, thanks to medical technology.

Judge, an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois and one of the most decorated dogs to serve in Winnipeg’s history, passed away in January of 2015 due to kidney failure, only nine months after retiring. The Winnipeg police have since stored his genetic material in the hopes of breeding more amazing service dogs like him.

Throughout his ten-year career, Judge and his two-legged partner, Detective Sergeant Scott Taylor, were involved in over 500 arrests, making them the most successful K9 unit in the force’s history.

Judge has already proven his pedigree is top notch. Currently, dozens of his puppies and grand-puppies are working as police service dogs throughout North America.