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Baby the Great

Meet the Second Annual Dogs of Valor winner.

The Humane Society of the United States

2nd Annual Dogs of Valor Winner Baby

Debi Cardon

Heroes can take on many forms. For Elwood Cardon, his hero became his Great Dane, Baby, after she came to his rescue in a life or death situation.

The Crash

Elwood, 82, had been staying with his daughter while undergoing cancer treatments, but he'd grown tired of the ordeal and was ready to go back to his own home to rest.

So one night Elwood snuck out with Baby and set out for home.

Although Elwood had traveled the route many times, this night he somehow became disoriented. As he was trying to turn his SUV around on the narrow mountain road, one of the tires slipped off the edge.

The vehicle plunged down an embankment, landed on its roof, and wedged between two trees.

Elwood was trapped in his seat, unable to pull himself from the wreckage or protect himself from the frigid mountain air.

The Rescue

"I thought I'd freeze to death," recalled Mr. Cardon in an emotional interview with ABQ Journal.

"She knew I needed heat. She'd come up and give me her body heat and we'd snuggle. Then she went out the window that broke out on that side, and I didn't know where she was going. She kept going down and coming back."

This continued for ten grueling hours, until Baby was finally able to get the attention of a woman in a nearby cabin.

"Pretty soon, she got the idea that she [Baby] wanted her to follow her. So she did," Elwood said. Baby led the woman to the wreckage, and help arrived shortly after. Elwood was treated and released from the hospital six days later.

Reflecting on that terrifying night, Mr. Cardon tearfully recalled, "It's amazing. I didn't think that dog could reason like that."

The Dogs of Valor Awards

It is unlikely that help would have arrived in time if Baby had not sensed the danger they were in and taken control of the situation.

Because of her heroic actions Baby was nominated for the Second Annual Dogs of Valor Awards. This award celebrates the human-animal bond by honoring dogs who have shown courage and resolve by helping a person in need.

Baby was voted Valor Dog of the Year by a panel of celebrity judges, including Benji, Ron Burns, Randy Pobst, and Judge David Young.

"Baby both comforted and aided her owner, and went repeatedly for help, persisting until she succeeded," Pobst noted.

Baby and her family will receive a framed Dogs of Valor certificate, an original sterling silver dog tag by Bella Tocca Tags, a signed and framed limited edition giclée, "Sirius", by Ron Burns and a natural handmade pet bed by designers.

Sadly, Mr. Cardon passed away on January 28, 2009, at his home in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and Baby is now living with his daughter in Albuequerque. The HSUS wishes to extend our deepest sympathy to his family.