Surprising Canine Heroes- Dedicated Dogs
The heroic story of the stray dog that protected three-year-old Aurora Bentley from an attack by another stray tells us just how far our canine companions will go to protect us. The dog, now named Oreo, rushed in to save the little girl with no concern for his own safety, putting himself between the toddler and the attacking animal.
There are innumerable stories of dogs saving their owners from fires, intruders, wild animals, drowning, and seizures. Dogs have pulled people from mangled cars, and gone to find help at great risk to their own lives in all sorts of conditions from freezing blizzards to fallen buildings. The heroics of the over 300 search and rescue dogs after the disastrous attack on the twin towers of 9/11 are well documented, as well as several guide dogs who helped their owners and others reach the ground safely. Therapy dogs not only bring comfort to those with anxiety and autism disorders but bring joy to those dealing with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
But there are some that not only awe us in their selflessness but surprise us too. I’ve put together a few of my favorite surprising dog heroes
Smoky the Smallish Soldier
Only four pounds and seven inches tall, this tiny terrier entertained the troops and earning her the nickname of Smoky the Yorkie Doodle Dandy. She learned many behaviors to keep spirits up, even walking a tightrope blindfolded. As great as that is, her career as a soldier was not just about entertainment. She spent two years in New Guinea with Corporal William A. Wynne, as well as accompanying him on combat flights in the Pacific. She was also instrumental in the building of an airbase an Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. She shaved days off the task by running a telegraph wire 70 feet through a pipe just 8 inches in diameter. If she hadn’t been there to assist in the building, the task would have been a dangerous and daunting digging operation for the crewmen. [i]
Finns Jordan's Canine Defender
Seven-month-old Finn Jordan had a problem, but he was too little to tell his parents. His babysitter, Alexis Khan, wasn’t very nice, and it wasn’t until his parents noticed the unusually aggressive behavior that their canine companion displayed towards her that they became suspicious. Luckily for Finn, the Jordans took note of the uncharacteristic behavior of the pooch, and they put their cellular phone underneath the couch cushions to find out what was causing the outbursts. The recording caught not only swearing and screaming at the infant, but the clear and unmistakable sound of the babysitter slapping the poor little guy. Now Alexis is in jail for assault and battery, and more importantly, will never be able to work with children again. [ii]
Finding History in France
In 1940 four teenaged boys were looking for an old tunnel between Castel of Montignac to the Manor of Lascaux, said to lead to great treasure. Along for the adventure was a dog named Robot, a smallish white dog with a patch over his eye. As they were walking through the woods Robot ran ahead and started digging at a depression underneath an overturned tree. The boys saw that the depression seemed to lead to a tunnel, and as they were looking for a tunnel they helped Robot excavate the hole. Instead of finding a tunnel, they found a cave filled with paintings depicting numerous animals, including bulls, horses and stags. This cave turned out to be just one of a group of connected caves and are now known as the Lascaux Caves, with paintings that are approximately 17,300 years old. [iii]
True Bravery Above All Obstacles
There are many stories about dogs barking to alert their owners of fires, refusing to leave until their families are safe and sound, many going to extremes to lead their human family members out. Some have even been known to drag their owners from the building, or shield them with their own bodies. True of Oklahoma did just that for Katie Crosely and her infant son Jace. So why did I specifically include True in this list? This little three legged hero dachshund who made sure everyone got out safe and sound is a dog that Katie adopted because his previous owned didn’t want him because he was essentially blind and deaf. It just goes to prove that canine love and protection can overcome any disability. [iv]
Hero to Cats in need- Ginny
Ginny loved cats. I know, not exactly a big dog like trait... but it’s very true. She so cared for her feline friends that she rescued over 900 lost and homeless cats, without being trained to do so. Her first rescue was a litter of five kittens trapped in a pipe. At the time her caretaker, Philip Gonzales, didn’t know that it was the first of many rescues. She came to the aid of cats in even the most dire of circumstances, and from anywhere that she found a cat in need. Glove compartments, dumpsters and even glass-laden containers. Ginny didn’t stop at cats though. There are stories on Ginny’s Fan site of her halting a blind man from stepping into traffic, and even one where got herself banned from a pet store by opening the cages of mice, rats and hamsters to free them! [v]
Lifeguard with Fur
Swansea Jack was a black coated retriever dog from the early twentieth century, who consistently put himself in danger in order to save the lives of others.The brave pooch made his first rescue when he was just a year old. He jumped into the ocean to save the life of a twelve-year-old boy who was drowning, dragging him to shore by the scruff of his neck. He had never been trained to rescue people from the river and seas that surrounded him, and he didn’t require instruction to do so. Whenever he heard cries for help, he would plunge into the dangerous waters without concern for himself in order to drag the struggling human safely back to shore.
For a little over a decade, Jack answered as many calls for help as he could, and saved a minimum of twenty-seven people.
Swansea Jack the only canine to date that was honored with two bronze medals for bravery by the National Canine Defense League, and in the year 2000, the NewFound Friends of Bristol, a company that specializes in training dogs for aquatic rescue, gave Swansea Jack the title of “Dog of the Century.”
Hero Pup- Honey
Honey was only 5 months old when she made earned the title of Dog of the Year for saving her owner from a catastrophic car accident. Michael Bosch and Honey were alone in a turned over vehicle, with no help in sight. Michael was stuck in the car, but he was able to free Honey, and that turned out to be the best thing he could have done. The pup managed to find help half a mile away and brought them back to Michael, saving his life
Fetching the Forgotten
One baby girl in Thailand can credit her life to a family dog named Pui. When Pui brought a white plastic bag home and barked for attention, the contents came as a complete surprise for 12 year old Sudarat Thongmak. Inside the plastic bag was a premature baby girl, still with her umbilical cord attached. Because of Pui’s timely rescue, Sudarat and her family were able to get the baby to a nearby hospital in time to save her life. The Red Cross Gave Pui a special certificate, and a donation to help pay for food for him as well as the other dogs the family shares their home with. [vi]
Have you ever had a personal animal hero in your life?
I’ve shared my life with dogs (and other animals) since I was very young, and I plan to continue doing so as long as I am on this earth. They’ve never failed to comfort me, to make me laugh even at the hardest times in my life, and yes, they still manage to surprise me!