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The Loyalty of Hero Dogs and K9 Companions

Updated on December 12, 2012

The Dog, A Symbol of Strength and Security

"Dogs do understand people—in many respects they know humans better than other humans do. For example, dogs know that if they forgive a person enough, they belong to that person (and that person belongs to them). This happens without any thought or regard as to whether either party likes it or not. It is a cosmic law called "squatter's rights of the heart."—J. Walker—

...the pit bull is being legislated out of existence to some degree.

Dogs have to be forgiving to live among the frail, fearful and fickle humans. If we pause and take a look behind us, we might find a history that tells us much of a misunderstood breed before we labeled it a monster. For instance, lets look at the Pit Bull Terrier. Previous to WWI, the pit bull terrier was the symbol we Americans imagined when we thought of independent strength and security. The image of the pit bull was used on posters depicting 'Neutrality Without Fear." And Nipper, the RCA corporate logo dog, (as well as a pit bull) was shown listening to phonographic recordings.

Pitbulls were among the highest regarded dogs, having qualities in loyalty and bravery. The illegal and inhumane dog fight trade has been the demise of this wonderful breeds reputation.
Pitbulls were among the highest regarded dogs, having qualities in loyalty and bravery. The illegal and inhumane dog fight trade has been the demise of this wonderful breeds reputation.

Humans revered the pit bull, referring to them as clowns who brought humor to the room:

  • "Li'l Rascals" had Petey, a pit bull as a co-star in their very funny movie productions.
  • Mostly kind and humble people owned this loyal family beast; Helen Keller, Fred Astaire, James Thurber and John Steinbeck, all owned pit bulls.
  • Once in while a roust would occur around a pit bull as when Pete, Theodore Roosevelt's pit bull, tore the britches off of the French ambassador during a social event at the White House. No permanent damage occurred and everyone (including the ambassador) took the incident in good stride.

Today, when we think of the sweet natured pit bull, an entirely different image comes to mind. The many bad press reviews that implicate the pit bull have caused many to fear and miss identify the perpetrators of intense dog attacks. Because of this, the pit bull is being legislated out of existence to some degree. The term, "pit bull or pit bull-like dogs" has come to mean any dog with a large head. This is not a factual representation. Even animal control officers have on several occasions miss identified the pit bull, calling a Boxer and even the wrinkly Chinese Shar-Pei a pit bull. On one occasion the owner of such a set of dogs was required to provide a letter from the veterinarian before convincing officials that his dogs were not pit bulls and didn't require muzzles during their daily walks around the neighborhood.

Hilarious Dog Video - 1.5 minutes of pure laughter!

It's a Dogs Life!!

We humans consider our k9 friends as family members on more than a few occasions. Our dog friends are on to us and are fully aware that they are family without question. Researchers have questioned just how much of a family member our dogs have become by measuring certain social reactions made by humans. One such action has uncovered to what extent humans consider their dog to be family. The research reports that 38% of all dog owners confess to slipping up and calling their spouse by their dog's name. Even more interesting is that 25% of that same group have switched the error around by calling their dog by their spouses name. We girls are more apt to make these mistakes. Could this mean that we find less of a difference between our spouses and our dogs than our counterparts do?

(In case you were wondering, only 11% of pet owners admit to ever calling their children by their dog's name, meaning kids seem to be much more distinguishable than their parents).

"Pluto struggled to stay above the waterline pushing harder and more fatigued toward the dry sand."

image by

Amazing tasks of helper dogs

Helper Dogs (K-9 companions) take time from their busy day to do a little ATM banking.
Helper Dogs (K-9 companions) take time from their busy day to do a little ATM banking. | Source

Dogs seem to know that they are treated as family members more often than not. The fact that they are correct in this assumption is demonstrated frequently during divorce proceedings. Marriages where a dog is involved, 38% of the court cases included a custody decision because neither party was willing to let go of their furry "dog child." The statistics show that as in human custody battles, judges are more prone to give custody to the woman an astonishing 81% of the time. Giving only 11% visitation rights to their former spouse. Oddly enough, when the unusual incidents where such that the husband was given custody of the canine, the ex was given visitation rights in 83% of the proceedings.

It is estimated that over 1 million Americans have named their dog as beneficiaries in their wills. (the dogs-life is one of bliss and comfort, as it should be)


Do you consider your dog as part of your family?

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Young boy playing on beach
Young boy playing on beach | Source
Pluto the hero Saint Bernard Dog with rescued boy on his back. This wasn't the first time Pluto had been a hero...
Pluto the hero Saint Bernard Dog with rescued boy on his back. This wasn't the first time Pluto had been a hero... | Source

A West Coast K9 Hero

As a California girl, I have long heard stories about a dog who patrolled the west coast shores of Newport Beach, my old stomping grounds. The story shows the true nature of dogs and the boundless courage they display on our human behalf.

This tale is about a 150-pound Saint Bernard Dog named Prince Pluto. He lived in Newport Beach, California with his owner—Richard Gunther— back in 1931. The two would set out on a daily stroll along the beach shoreline. Prince Pluto would socialize with the sunbathers and those who splashed about in the churning waves while wondering ahead of Richard greeting and enjoying the people.

On this one sunny day, George Mades, a six-year-old splashed and played along the ocean's edge. Managing to saunter off and out of his parents sight, he was surprised by a number of larger waves that grabbed him sweeping his little body towards the deep ocean waters. As George fought the water, thrashing around to stay afloat, Prince Pluto caught sight of him from the shore. It was a split-second before the strong-swimming k9 ran to and into the water. Young George was fighting with everything he had, but the ocean was far to strong for his tiny muscles and took him deeper into its grasp and farther from shore with every tick of the clock. Pluto swam hard and fast and as he got close to George the boy reached out his panicking arms trying to get a grip on the big dog, just missing Pluto as he stretched. As Pluto saw this happen he swiveled his big dog-body around and grabbed a hold of the young swimmers trunks, tightly in his teeth. The dog paddles strong against the current and began swimming toward the shore with George in tow. The boy grabbing and gasping for much needed air managed to scramble onto the back of the paddling canine while Pluto struggled to stay above the waterline pushing harder and more fatigued toward the dry sand. Tired and mostly spent, Pluto pulls himself and George to the land, being greeted by the boys frightened and concerned parents, who it took many tries and a firm tug to pry the terrified boy's fingers from the Saint Bernard's fur.

A splendid tale of dog courage and human frailty, but this may not be the most intriguing part of the story. You see, Prince Pluto had lived this event before—five times before. The big beautiful hero was awarded the title of "official lifeguard of Newport Beach" by the city counsel. He sported a department badge and a safety light on a harness (to protect him from cars in the event he patrolled at night). He also was awarded the Latham Foundation's Gold Medal Award for animal heroism.

Humans again show their fickle nature; as you walk where the sight of Pluto's heroic tale was written, you will find a notice, forgetful of this courageous act, that reads: "No Dogs Permitted On This Beach." How forgetful we humans are...



Newport Beach, California

If you find you want to see where this Newport Beach, California Dog Hero story took place, check out the official Newport Beach site. The site offers you information as to where to stay, what to do and who's-who in the city. You will find all spectrum's of entertainment in Newport Beach; theatre, outdoor events, music, fine dining, casual dining, shopping and anything else you may desire! I sure you will find the town dog- family-friendly, as well as beautiful against the vast coastal backdrop.

Official site address:

The map above is provided for your convenience.

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Comments for "DOGS - Loyalty of dogs"....

Submit a Comment
  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    7 years ago from Northern, California

    Eiddwen~ Thanks so much for the comments. I am thrilled that you find the work worth reading! Hoping 2012 is treating you great!



  • Eiddwen profile image


    7 years ago from Wales

    Brilliant !! What a great hub and thanks for sharing.

    Take care and enjoy your day.


  • thewahm profile image


    7 years ago

    Our family has had American Pitbull Terriers for years. Our dogs are amazing! They are great with our kids, obedient and we could not ask for a better breed.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Just Ask Susan~ The kindness and unconditional love of our k9 friends has long amazed me. Not anger, sorrow, or even neglect can break the heart of a dog that loves its human. I am thrilled that you shared your story about the bond between you and Saige! What a "never to be forgotten" sweet moment you two had.

    Thank you for the comments Susan, it means the world.


  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Wonderful Hub K9 I really enjoyed it. I remember one time when I worked at a kennel I was cleaning out pens of 3 Newfoundland sisters. The dog beds were made from wood and were quite heavy. Not sure how I did this but one fell on my finger and was quite painful. Saige (the dog) stood looking at me as if to say are you alright then she started licking my finger. I will always remember that day not as heroic mind you as your great story about Prince Pluto. But Saige and I had a special bond after that happened.

  • schoolgirlforreal profile image


    8 years ago

    Oh! The video with the guy skydiving with his dog!! So cute! What a cool idea! What a touching tale of the dog who rescued the boy from drowning!

  • Scribenet profile image

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Great Hub on many levels. I agree about the Pit Bulls since I had a half Pit Bull and I used to call her a hambone 'cause she just deliberately made me laugh with her wacky sense of humor and she loved her family. I always got the sense she chose us! Children were her favorite people,if a child visited she totally forgot the adults and would romp around literally for hours amusing her guest...and the children adored her too. Think it is nasty owners that need to be banned from owning dogs period. We have bans for owing pit bull dogs but the dog bites continue from a variety of breeds.

    Loved the story on Prince Pluto. It shows the selfless nature of dogs and their love of humans. We should all be so loving and caring!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    IzztM~Thank you for your comment. I am grateful that you find the time to read my work.


  • IzzyM profile image


    8 years ago from UK

    Great story and really well-written. Rated up!

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    DevinCo~Thanks for the comment and I really appreciate your take on every family needing a pet. I would be lost without mine! Unconditional love in every circumstance!


  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Every family should have some kind of pet, and dogs are one of the best. They always love you and are excited to see you. Cats are good too but don't greet you when you come home like an anxious pup. Good hub.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    bilyaustindillon~Thank you for the read! I agree that boys benefit the most from their k9's, nothing more beautiful than a boy and his dog! Glad to know you are a 'dog-family' person.


    MPG~I had a hard time re-telling the story as every once in a while my eyes would well-up and I had to push away the 'old-broad' tear...dogs and I have a deep emotional connection. Really am thrilled that you took time from your day to comment MPG! Thanks.


  • MPG Narratives profile image

    Marie Giunta 

    8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Pets are great for families, especially dogs. Great story about a great dog, K9. They are all special in their own way aren't they, we wouldn't be without our Sassie.

  • billyaustindillon profile image


    8 years ago

    Loved it and dogs are definitely a part of the family IMHO - we had three - down to one right now. Many joys and comfort and fantastic for boys growing up.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Pamela99~Thanks for the feedback and for the nice comments! I am frequently amazed by these beautiful beings!


  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    K9keystorkes, Great hub about man's best friend. Official lifeguard is quite an honor for a brave dog. Great story,

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Mutiny92~Very cool! Yea, Hoag Memorial Hospital was where I was hatched. One of my very dear friends (Adam, AKA Moose) teaches swift-water resue all over the country, incuding LA. Mostly works on river raft tours on the big (ranked 3-5)rivers from Cali to W.Virginia-where his school is. Thanks for the comment, and I hope your fellow rescue team enjoy the story and remain safe.

    Above all else thank you for sharing the hub!


  • Mutiny92 profile image


    8 years ago from Arlington, VA

    wow!! Nice article. Coincidentally, Search and Rescue is my job in LA, and that includes Newport Beach. I work with the lifeguards and the sheriffs almost every day. I had never heard of this story, but will make sure I pass it on.


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