Great Lab Work
This week we bring you three tales about everyday Labrador
retrievers that performed heroic acts to save the lives of their
You don’t have to tell most sportsmen that Labrador retrievers are
great all-around dogs, but 29-year-old Iowa waterfowler Brent Teel
has even more reason to love his black Lab, Junior. That’s because
Junior saved his life last year while duck hunting.
Teel (yes, that’s the duck hunter’s real name-we don’t make this
stuff up!) was hunting along the Mississippi River when he slipped
into deep water and his waders began to fill with cold water,
dragging him down.
“I was getting weak, went down three times before finally getting
out of my waders but the straps tangled around my neck,” Teel later
recalled in an interview with a Quad-City Times reporter. “When I
went down the fourth time, the water was up to my nose. I was
freezing cold and drowning. I knew that I was gone, but somehow,
could see Junior thrashing around me.
“That black Lab knew that I was in big trouble. He swam to me. I
grabbed on to his collar and he pulled me at least 20 yards to the
bank of a sandbar–that’s 60 feet–a long way.”
When the pair reached land, an exhausted Teel found his boat and
shakily used his CB radio to call his father for help. When an
emergency ambulance crew arrived at the scene, they found the dog
huddled against its owner.
In retrospect, Teel has no doubt about the role Junior played in
“My dog and God saved me from dying.”
Lab Performs Heimlich Maneuver
Debbie Parkhurst, 45, of Calvert, Maryland told her local
newspaper, The Cecil Whig she was eating an apple at her home when
a piece lodged in her windpipe. She tried unsuccessfully to perform
the Heimlich maneuver on herself and began beating herself on the
That’s when her golden retriever, Toby, decided to get
“The next thing I know, Toby’s up on his hind feet and he’s got his
front paws on my shoulders,” Parkhurst said. “He pushed me to the
ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on
Parkhurst said that after the apple was dislodged, Toby started
licking her face and essentially prevented her from losing
A physician later confirmed that the dog’s actions quite possibly
saved the woman’s life.
“I literally have pawprint-shaped bruises on my chest. I’m still a
little hoarse, but otherwise, I’m OK,” Parkhurst said.
Centerton, Indiana resident Bill Burns has little doubt he is alive
today because of his two faithful dogs, Butch and Dusty, along with
the actions of an alert sheriff’s deputy whom fate placed in the
right place, at precisely the right time.
On a crisp fall night last November, Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy
Steve Hoffman had just finished a traffic stop on a rural road
around 9 p.m. when he noticed something peculiar in a darkened
cornfield–a wildly moving, flickering light.
Upon investigation, Hoffman found Bill Burns on the ground,
unconscious. Butch, Burns’ black Lab, was running and jumping
around his ailing owner while carrying a lighted flashlight in his
mouth, like a bone. Burns’ yellow Lab mix, Dusty, rested on top of
The Mooresville/Decatur Times reported that Deputy Hoffman, an
advanced Emergency Medical Technician, radioed for help, grabbed
his medical kit from his cruiser and returned to Burns’ side.
Hoffman later recalled that it appeared one dog was trying to
protect his unconscious owner, while the other was trying to keep
Burns was transported by paramedics to a local hospital, where he
was treated for apparent diabetic shock. He later recalled that he
was taking Butch and Dusty on their nightly walk when he began to
feel faint and collapsed. Burns said he was grateful for the
remarkable irony that led Deputy Hoffman to his side.
“Some people call it fate, I call it faith because there had to be
some hand in it,” Burns told a local television reporter of the