Readers Digest's Hero Pet of the Year for 2009 was ChiChi the thirteen pound Chihuahua-Mix of Greensboro, North Carolina, belonging to Mary and Rick Lane.
By sounding a barking alarm, he saved two elderly women no one else had seen or heard, who were caught in a rip-tide.
"He leapt out of his beach chair, still attached, dragging the beach chair, and he started sending out an alarm."
Mary continued: "He was making a sound we never heard before."
Soon they realized ChiChi had heard the paniced cries even above the sound of the surf, and this little dog was demanding action.
After the Lanes had gotten the elderly women safely ashore, they went to get ChiChi, a rescued dog who'd started out with a tough lilfe. He had climbed back into his personal beach chair and was sound asleep after a job well down. He is shown in two portraits, with his proud owners Mary and Rick.