They were the best of dogs. They were the worst of dogs.
This is a tale of two Simi Valley canines, each without warning faced with the horrors of January's magnitude 6.8 earthquake. There was Stella, the loyal heroine, man's best friend, who threw herself atop her mistress's body and absorbed the near-fatal impact of a falling oak wall unit.
And there was Wilbur, who tried to hide under the bed.
For her troubles, Stella, a puffy white Samoyed, nearly lost her left paw, got to endure four hours of surgery and now owns a permanent limp. But before TV cameras and a fitting crowd of news hounds Tuesday, the gritty pooch was honored with the 12th annual "hero dog" award presented by the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Stella got a plaque and a $100 check, enough to offset some of her $2,000 in veterinary bills.
Wilbur got to stay home.
"She jumped on my stomach area and took the blow," Stella's proud owner, Myrna Huffman, told reporters in recalling the chaos of the pre-dawn Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake that toppled the massive wall unit and all its contents, including a television.