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Hero pit bull from Lawrenceville takes third in national contest

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Gloria Benton of Lawrenceville talks about the time her dog Titan saved her life back in July. Gloria was having an aneurysm in her home when Titan would not allow her husband John to leave for work. Titan is now up for a national "Dogs of Valor" award through the Humane Society.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Gloria Benton of Lawrenceville talks about the time her dog Titan saved her life back in July. Gloria was having an aneurysm in her home when Titan would not allow her husband John to leave for work. Titan is now up for a national "Dogs of Valor" award through the Humane Society.

Titan, the Lawrenceville pit bull who saved his owner's life, earned third place in the Humane Society of the United States' national "Dogs of Valor" contest.

The contest -- pitting 10 courageous dogs from across the country against each other -- was open to online voting by the public last week. The winners were announced Sunday.

Titan, a 5-year-old pit bull, saved owner Gloria Benton's life last summer. Her husband, John, was set to leave for work when Titan got between him and the door and began whining, then running up and down the stairs.

John finally walked upstairs and discovered Gloria lying on the ground bleeding from her head. Doctors later said she had suffered an aneurysm and a fractured skull.

"'(The doctors) said, 'If the dog had let you leave this house, she would have either bled to death or the aneurysm would have killed her,'" John Benton told the Daily Post last week.

For his third-place finish, Titan and the Bentons will receive a plaque, a personalized sterling silver pet tag and a $50 gift certificate to the Humane Society's online store.

A great dane named Hank was named the Valor Dog of the Year and the People's Hero. The dog from Kansas City, Mo., absorbed hammer blows from his female owner's estranged boyfriend, allowing her to escape and flee to a nearby police station.

Hank, who had several broken ribs and a shattered hip, was dragged into a busy street and left for dead but survived.

First runner-up went to Buddy from Milwaukee. His owner's truck got stuck in a blizzard, and, when they tried to walk home, the owner collapsed. Buddy, a labrador, kept his owner warm and barked for hours until a neighbor discovered them.

When his owner was discovered, his core body temperature was 68 degrees and his clothes were frozen to his body.

"The dogs in this year's Humane Society of the United States Dogs of Valor Awards are powerful examples of the strong bond between people and animals," HSUS President Wayne Pacelle said. "Hank's heroism in the face of such terrible violence is just another example of dogs employing their amazing senses, intelligence and courage."