Expositor nominates Tehkummah hero cat for Purina Animal Hall of Fame

Ivy the heroine cat

TEHKUMMAH—The Expositor has nominated Ivy the wonder cat of Tehkummah for the Purina Animal Hall of Fame for her part in the rescue of Tehkummah Reeve Eric Russell earlier this fall.

As The Expositor has previously reported, Ivy, a rescue cat from Fixing our Felines in Manitowaning, had just moved into her new home with her owner and Mr. Russell’s neighbor Mary Johnston a few weeks before the incident.

Mr. Russell was working on the pulley of his garage’s overhead door when screws in the spring came loose, causing the door to come sailing down on him as he was perched on a ladder. The reeve was pinned with his arm ensnared in the door 13 feet up. Mr. Russell called for help several times and was beginning to lose hope when Ivy alerted Ms. Johnston to the emergency and she rushed to the reeve’s aid.

Ms. Johnston was lost in a book and hadn’t heard Mr. Russell’s calls, but Ivy did and began jumping from the couch to the window to her owner to get her attention, leading Ms. Johnston to hear Mr. Russell in distress.

Ms. Johnston called Betty Russell and the two reached out to Don McMurray and Bob Beard for additional help to get the reeve’s arm free. An ambulance was called and Mr. Russell was taken to the Manitoulin Health Centre in Mindemoya where his dislocated shoulder was ‘popped’ back into place. He also suffered some nerve damage, but is recovering from the incident.

Mr. Russell credited his rescue to Ivy and gifted her with a thank you card and gift certificate to a pet store.

The Expositor was so impressed with the heroic actions of Ivy that we decided to nominate her for the Purina Animal Hall of Fame. A nomination was filled out by Expositor editor Alicia McCutcheon online and this reporter followed up with Purina to find out more about the process and the history of the hall of fame.

“The Purina Animal Hall of Fame was established in 1968 by the Purina president of the time James MacPherson,” explained Purina Animal Hall of Fame Ambassador Melissa Eckersley. “He was well known for his connection to the hockey community and felt that if extraordinary hockey players could be recognized, why not extraordinary pets.”

The first year of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, the induction ceremony was held at Maple Leaf Gardens, explained Ms. Eckersley. The inductees included: a black Labrador retriever named Pat from Kingston that saved his owner’s life by swimming three and a half hours through the strong winds and rough water in the St. Lawrence River, towing his owner with a rope attached to the boat, which had lost power; Bambi, a Chihuahua from Oshawa who saved the life of a friend visiting its owners by waking her after a fire had started in the house. The visitor suffered from asthma and was resting at the time of the fire and it is believed that she would have been asphyxiated had it not been for Bambi. And Tippy, a six-month-old shepherd/lab mix who leaped into the swift and icy Niagara River to pull an eight-year-old boy to safety.

“We receive a lot of submissions each year—hundreds,” Ms. Eckersley told The Expositor. “Our Purina representatives review all the submissions and narrow the number down before reaching out in February and March of each year to further vet the submissions. There is no specific criteria for the number of cats or dogs selected each year, but four pets are selected—three for the Purina Hall of Fame and one service animal that has gone above and beyond.”

“As of last year, the 48th annual Purina Hall of Fame, 172 pets have been recognized including 144 dogs, 27 cats and a horse,” added Ms. Eckersley.

The Expositor asked about the horse and Ms. Eckersley explained that a horse was inducted in the 1960s in the Newmarket area. An elderly woman had fallen into a ditch in the winter and the horse had walked into town to alert someone and led individuals back to help the woman and saved her life.

Ivy’s application has been received and will be reviewed and considered for the 49th annual Purina Hall of Fame, which will be announced next year.