Coyote-chasing wire fox terrier named spcaLA’s Hero Dog of the Year


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A 9-year-old wire fox terrier named Ronnie was named local rescue organization spcaLA‘s Hero Dog of the Year in a ceremony held Tuesday.

Ronnie -- who lives with owners Janis and Eric Christensen and their two other dogs in the Orange County town of Rossmoor -- placed himself between a coyote and Janis, who was holding another of the family’s dogs, when the coyote jumped a fence into the Christensens’ backyard last August.


The coyote bit Ronnie, leaving him with two puncture wounds to the shoulder; Ronnie bit back and then chased the coyote until it disappeared from view, Eric Christensen told the Orange County Register.

According to the Christensens, such behavior was uncharacteristic of the dog, which, under normal circumstances, is the shyest and most retiring of their pets. That’s part of the reason he was chosen to receive the award, according to spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein.

‘Ronnie’s personality was such that you wouldn’t think he would spring into action like he did. This shows that treating your pet with love and respect can be returned by an amazing heroic act,’ Bernstein said.

Ronnie and his family will receive a plaque from spcaLA, a year’s supply of dog food donated by Natura Pet Products and a weekend getaway to Long Beach’s pet-friendly Hotel Maya.

The Hero Dog of the Year ceremony was held at downtown L.A.’s Nokia Center. It’s the 28th consecutive year that spcaLA has presented the award, which is intended to recognize plain-old companion dogs rather than specially trained law enforcement or search-and-rescue dogs.

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-- Lindsay Barnett