Dog Receives PETA Award After Getting Vital Help for Severely Injured Guardian

Man Recovering After Becoming Paralyzed While Backcountry Skiing

For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Denver – On November 2, Leonard Somers was backcountry skiing, accompanied by his dog Juneau, when he fell down a ravine and slammed into a frozen tree trunk, leaving him paralyzed from spinal injuries. Juneau left him only long enough to alert other skiers to Somers’ location before returning and lying on Somers’ legs to keep him warm. Somers was rushed to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, one of the few hospitals that allows animals in patients’ rooms—an amenity that both Somers and Juneau have enjoyed.

For getting Somers the help he needed to survive and then loyally remaining at his side until it arrived, Juneau will receive a Heroic Dog Award from PETA, along with a special “doggie bag” containing several toys, a comfy harness to wear on walks, and a bag of vegan dog treats.

“Dogs are more than our best friends—as Juneau demonstrated, they’re our family members and our protectors,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA hopes Juneau’s heroics will remind everyone of the many rewards of sharing our lives with animal companions—and the importance of valuing their devotion by becoming the best guardians possible.”

PETA encourages anyone with the time, willingness, and resources to care for an animal properly to adopt a dog or cat from a shelter, rather than adding to the animal-homelessness crisis by buying from a breeder or a pet store.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind