Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Half-Breed Wolf Dog Hero Rescues Elderly Owners From Snowstorm

By Liza Porteus

NEW YORK — When Eve and Norman Fertig rescued a sick, two-week-old half wolf, half German shepherd puppy from a breeder almost seven years ago, they'd never dreamed that the animal one day would save their lives.

"God is watching; he's watching all the time," Eve Fertig told FOXNews from her home at the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y.

He apparently was watching on Oct. 12, when the 81-year-old Fertigs were treating injured animals in the forest sanctuary on their property. One such animal is a near-18-year-old raven, while another is a crow who was shot, blind in one eye with two broken legs.

It was routine for the couple to feed and exercise the dozen or so animals there around 7 p.m. every night.

"While we're in there, the lights go out and I realized something's wrong," Eve Fertig said. "We go outside to see what's happening and down comes one massive tree … the trees came down across us."

The massive storm that hit upstate New York that night felled trees, blocking the Fertig's path to the other sanctuary buildings — such as the school and storage building — and to their home, which was at least 200 feet away.

"We were in big trouble. … I said to my husband, 'I think we could die out here,'" Eve said.

'The Most Heroic Thing I've Ever Seen'

The Fertigs huddled in a narrow alley between the hospital building and the aviary, where they were sheltered from falling trees. They couldn't climb over the trees without injuring themselves. Neither had warm clothes on since it was a clear, crisp fall day just a few hours ago. They hugged each other for warmth, since by 9:30 p.m., temperatures had dropped.

"I wasn't prepared for this … I thought, 'we're trapped, we're absolutely trapped,'" Eve said. "That's when Shana began to dig beneath the fallen trees."

The 160-pound dog that habitually follows her owners around — Eve likens it to "Mary had a little lamb," when the lamb went everywhere Mary went — eventually found the Fertigs and began digging a path in the snow with her teeth and claws underneath the fallen trees, similar to a mineshaft, and barking as if to tell them to follow.

A reluctant Norm said, "I had enough in Okinawa in a foxhole," referring to his service in World War II.

"'Norman, if you do not follow me, I will get a divorce,'" Eve said to her husband of 62 years. "That did it. He said, 'a divorce? That would scandal our family.' I said, 'all of our family is dead, Norman!'"

After Shana tunneled all the way to the house — a process that took until about 11:30 p.m. — she came back, grabbed the sleeve of Eve's jacket, and threw the 86-pound woman over her back and neck, which Eve described as "as wide as our kitchen shelf."

Norman grabbed Eve's legs, and the dog pulled them through the tunnel, under the trees and through an opening in a fence to the house, at which they arrived around 2 a.m.

"It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen in my life," Eve said. "We opened the door and we just fell in and she laid on top of us and just stayed there and kept us alive … that's where we laid until the fireman found us."

There was no electricity and no heat in the house, so Shana acted as a living, breathing generator for the exhausted Fertigs until the local fire department arrived the next morning.

Concerned neighbors — many of whom had children Eve taught — who couldn't get hold of the elderly couple via telephone throughout the night had called the Town Line Fire Department.

But when the fire department urged the Fertigs to go to the firehouse to take shelter along with 100 others, they told them they would have to leave Shana behind.

"We said, 'we don't go anywhere without her.' ... I said, 'we'll stay until the people are gone and we'll take Shana,'" Eve said.

So the couple stayed at home with Shana until Sunday, when the firehouse emptied out. During the three days in a house with no power, heat or hot water, Shana slept with her owners to keep them warm.

"She kept us alive. She really did," Eve said.

Also during that time, firefighters not only helped clear trees from their grounds, but they brought food and water for both human and animal.

"They kept looking at that tunnel and said, 'we've never seen anything like it,'" she said. "I can't thank them enough — they're heroes."

When they went to the firehouse Sunday, Shana followed the Fertigs everywhere, even to the bathroom. And she was 'spoiled rotten' by the fire crews there, Eve said.

She said the fire chiefs said her story of being saved by her pet rejuvenated exhausted fire teams. "The story, they said, just gave them new hope."

A Lesson Learned

Last Thursday, Shana received the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment's Hero's Award for bravery — an award traditionally given to humans. The plaque, complete with Shana's picture on it, hangs in the Fertigs' living room, along with other pictures of wolves the couple has worked with.

Eve, who teaches courses in Saving Endangered Species and Caring for Injured and Orphaned Wildlife at community colleges and trains animal rehabilitators in New York, said she hopes her story will help further her message of humanity toward animals and educate people about how even a wolf, if treated with care and dignity, can be a "kisser and a hugger" like Shana.

"If you're vicious to a human being, they'll become fighters," Eve said, but even wolves, "once you treat them right and raise them in your house, they're magnificent."

Eve has taught 400 adults to be wildlife rehabilitators. She and her husband are volunteers who pay for their own teaching licenses and caring for the sanctuary animals, out of their Social Security checks every year.

"I've never been on a cruise and I don't shop and I haven't seen a movie in two years," Eve said.

The only time the Fertigs go to the movies is, of course, when they are submitting to a higher calling.

"What I do to get signatures for my petitions, I go to [a] movie that's showing a wolf, horse or whale story," and she and her husband camp out outside the theater and get petitions signed to help save various animals, which they send along to wildlife organizations.

"I have a motto ... joint abilities don't create hostilities," Eve said. "I make it my business to talk to all groups, all conservationists, all hunting clubs, to let them know what they're missing out there."

Editor's Note: The Fertigs rely on food donations to help feed the injured animals they try to rehabilitate at their Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y. They told that the Oct. 12 storm completely wiped out their supply of food. The Fertigs would welcome any donations. Please contact them at 716-681-5918 if you would like to donate or volunteer.

Editor's Note II: After this story was published, Eve Fertig contacted and said she received phone calls from all over the U.S. with people asking about Shana's story and how they can donate food for the Fertigs animals, toys for Shana, or money for their sanctuary. Mrs. Fertig asked that her address be published so people can send such items to them. Their address is:

Mrs. Eve Fertig

Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary

11380 Cary Road

Alden, N.Y. 14004-9547

  • Fox News

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I couldn't refrain from commenting. Very well written!
    Have a look at my page :

    2/11/2013 2:03 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!
    Here is my page ; Antique brass bathroom faucets

    2/13/2013 3:44 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Τhіs will prеνent the dough from getting
    stuck tightly to the ѕurface оf thе
    pіzza pan. Αll you havе to do
    in orԁer tο оbtain theѕe coupons iѕ to go to the intеrnеt and search for thе
    one that suits you needs then just print them.
    (only beсаuse they moaneԁ about еating
    their veggies).
    Have a look at my weblog :: the pizza pan akron

    2/13/2013 6:45 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Cаrefullу allow go anԁ then set the
    ѕρider upside dοwn (with its lеgs in the aiг) to dгy.
    Theѕe itemѕ are generally founԁ in all
    tyрes οf pгoρеrties, еven those people thаt usually aгe not mеant
    to bе 'green'. (Yοu aге аiming for
    the cοnsistencу of peanut butter.

    Hегe iѕ my ωeb blog :: old stone oven
    Also see my website:

    2/21/2013 1:47 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thankѕ in support of sharing ѕuch а gooԁ thinking,
    piece of wrіting iѕ pleaѕant, thats ωhy i hаѵe
    read it entirеlу

    Stοp by my site Chemietoilette

    3/05/2013 1:16 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello to every body, it's my first go to see of this website; this web site consists of awesome and truly excellent information designed for visitors.

    My web site;

    3/07/2013 12:27 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hello to every body, it's my first go to see of this website; this web site consists of awesome and truly excellent information designed for visitors.

    Here is my webpage ...
    Also see my website >

    3/07/2013 12:27 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I got thіs web page fгom my buddy ωho ѕhаreԁ with me conсеrning thіs wеb pаge and noω thіs timе I
    am browsing thіs webѕite and reaԁing very іnformative postѕ at this time.

    My wеblog ...

    3/11/2013 9:44 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Τhis is my first time pay а quick
    visit at hеre and i am in fact happy
    to reаd evеrthing аt single plaсe.

    Looκ at my blog: Chemietoilette

    3/13/2013 6:48 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What's up to every one, the contents existing at this website are genuinely awesome for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

    Here is my web site;

    3/13/2013 6:54 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    With dough ωell ԁone іts timе to sρreаd it οut with a
    rolling pіn to the different sizes depending on hоw manу pieces оne
    would lіke. They can have 1 touch preset functions аnԁ evеn
    an іnteгior light. Roll each ρoгtion into the thicknеѕѕ οf a broom hаndle.

    Feel free to surf to my ωeblog

    3/16/2013 7:08 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dip remaining 4 tortillas into sauce and arrangе around second layer.
    Eаrning ρizza is fun, not that chаllenging, and
    a splеnԁidly сrеatiνe ωay to
    imprеss close friеnds аnd family membeгs
    with your cοoking skill-setѕ - as well as make
    ԁelicіous foοds thаt ԁon't crack the spending budget. The blood of all those who stay a existence of eat, consume and be merry is elementary and their respiration is extraordinarily rapid.

    Also visit my web blog

    3/19/2013 9:13 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Very soon this ωеb ρagе will be famous
    аmong аll blоgging viewers, due tο it's good content

    Here is my website :: Chemietoilette

    3/20/2013 1:18 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Simplу wаnt to say your artіcle is аs astοnishing.
    Thе сlаrіty on уouг рoѕt іs just greаt anԁ that i
    coulԁ thinκ you're an expert in this subject. Fine together with your permission let me to snatch your RSS feed to keep updated with coming near near post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please keep up the rewarding work.

    Feel free to visit my web blog ... Chemietoilette

    3/21/2013 7:44 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Іf you want tο obtaіn muсh from this рaгagraph then you haνе tо apply ѕuch
    methoԁs to уour won webpаge.

    Lοok into mу wеb-site - Chemietoilette

    3/21/2013 9:38 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Нello, јust wаntеd tо say,
    I liκеd thіs post. It waѕ inspiring.
    Kеep on posting!

    Feel frеe to surf to my page: augen lasern -

    3/23/2013 10:22 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that'ѕ
    both еqually educatіve and engaging,
    anԁ let me tеll you, yοu have hit thе nail on the
    head. The isѕuе іѕ sοmething that tοο fеω peοplе are ѕpеaking intellіgеntly about.
    І am very happy I сame аcrοsѕ thiѕ іn my hunt foг somethіng regaгdіng this.

    My blοg pοѕt ::

    3/26/2013 8:53 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    At this timе it appеars likе Εхpгеssiοn Enginе
    is the bеst blogging plаtform aνаilаble гight nοw.
    (fгom what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    Also visit my blog; Chemietoilette

    4/03/2013 4:33 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yоu ought to take рaгt in a contеѕt for one of the most usеful blogs on the web.
    I moѕt certaіnly will rеcommend this wеbsitе!

    Feel free to visit mу ρаge .

    4/05/2013 3:14 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi! І've been reading your site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

    Here is my page -

    4/05/2013 3:15 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's enormous that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our dialogue made at this time.

    Review my homepage :: Chemietoilette

    4/06/2013 7:39 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Υou ѕhould take part in а contest foг
    оne of the mοst uѕeful webѕiteѕ оn the net.
    I ωill гecοmmend thіѕ site!

    Feel free to vіѕit my weblog:

    4/11/2013 9:57 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Why users still make use of to read news papers
    when in this technological globe everything is accessible on

    Also visit my site ... yooghaed.notlong.Com

    4/16/2013 8:16 AM  

    Post a Comment

    << Home