After a long day of baking holiday cookies, John and Janet Walderbach of Ely, Iowa
headed to bed. They had two friend's children, who were visiting, spending the night
also. Barely asleep, the Walderbachs were awakened by the children who were complaining
about a headache and an upset stomach. While rocking the younger child, Janet soon
passed out. She was revived by 7-year-old Shelby, a German Shepherd Dog, who was nudging her. Shelby went to awaken John, who
thought she just needed a trip outside.
As John and Janet began to move, they too discovered that they were sick just like
the children. Putting Shelby outdoors, she continued to act very anxious and began
to bark incessantly. Shelby would not stop whining and scratching at the door. She
never stopped until John, Janet and the two children were safely outside of the
At the hospital, it was determined that the German Shepherd had alerted the family
to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in the home. They were treated in
hyperbolic chambers, which safely eliminated the carbon monoxide from their systems.
Shelby survived as well and was hailed as a hero. Doctors determined that the level
of carbon monoxide in their home was enough to cause death or severe long-term damage
to their bodies.
Shelby was named the Skippy Dog Hero of the Year. As the winner, she received a
$500 award, a year's supply of dog food and an engraved Skippy Dog Hero food bowl.