Celebrating 40 Years of Amazing Animals: Prince

Animals are not just our companions, they are our heroes – guarding our homes, working as service dogs, and even rescuing their families from burning buildings. As TVMF celebrates its 40th Anniversary, we want to take a moment to recognize some of the extraordinary animals that have been inducted into the Texas Animal Hall of Fame.

In this week’s edition, we’d like to honor TVMF’s Texas Animal Hall of Fame winner, a poodle named Prince.

Inducted: February 1987
Owned by: Doris and O.A. “Buddy” Rial

Doris and Buddy Rial were asleep in their Abilene home in December 1985 when a crack in the den fireplace set the walls of the home on fire, filling the rooms with smoke. Because of recent back surgery, Doris Rial was asleep in a separate bedroom with Prince, her miniature poodle.

Around 2 a.m., Prince began barking, scratching and pushing her with his nose. Even with the dog’s effort in the smoke-filled bedroom, Mrs. Rial had trouble rousing herself.

“I could feel him but could still not wake up,” she says. “Finally he bit me on the left shoulder, and the pain brought me to.”

Mrs. Rial rushed to her husband’s bedroom, where she found the couple’s Chinese pug trying to wake up Buddy Rial. Everyone escaped safely.

Abilene firefighters called the blaze a “killer fire,” one in which the house filled with deadly smoke but no flames could be seen.