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Dog heroes. Not your usual kind of dog breed

Dogs were among the first animals domesticated, and as long have dogs have lived with humans, there have been dog heroes.  There are plenty of records indicating the heroism of dogs; with their long association with humans, many dog breeds have been put into service in rescue occupations around the world.

With their sharp intelligence and natural courage, dog heroes play an important part in our history.

Dogs are often seen on television and in the movies and sometimes the stories behind the faces on the screen are just as fascinating. Spike, the mutt who starred in Old Yeller, was a rescue adopted for three dollars.

Pal, who went on to fame as the original Lassie, was originally dumped by an owner who couldn't afford his training bill. As you can see, dog heroes who appear in the movies have a great deal to offer in pluck and intelligence.

During World War I, many dogs saw action on the field of battle, just as men did.

They were used as messengers, sentries and guards and they proved to be amazingly efficient in their duties.

During the most hectic of battles, dogs were better at survival than the most dedicated human runners, and it was a severe offense to interfere with a dog running through the area, as it usually had some sort of message in the tin cylinder around its neck.

While you may picture larger breeds, like German Shepherds and Rottweilers in this capacity, dog breeds of all sorts were used during this conflict; private citizens volunteered their pets and many of the dogs in World War I were strays.

During World War II, one small Yorkie named Smoky remained in combat for 18 months straight and flew with the Third Emergency Rescue Squad, covering flights to Borneo and the Philippines.

Besides her job as an entertainer and mascot, Smoky also once ran more than seventy feet of vital phone wire under a taxi strip, saving three days worth of digging and loss of human life due to the hostile conditions.

Giant dog heroes - The St. Bernard dog breed is one of the most famous rescue breeds around.

These dog heroes were bred in the Alps for the rescue of travellers who were trapped in the icy mountain passes. Barry was one such dog; he is believed to have rescued anywhere from 30 to 100 people!

"When thinking about dog heroes, remember that they come in all shapes and size".

More than that, while there are many dog breeds that are known for rescue work (Germans Shepherds and Golden retrievers are high on this list), remember that many mutts and small dog breeds have a great deal to offer in terms of intelligence and courage as well.

Dog heroes are an important part of our history, and even today, with rescue operations training canines in bomb detection and disaster search procedure, this history is still being made.

We all owe a great deal of thanks to many dogs, some we will always remember, some we never even knew. It is only in recent times that people have understood the bravery of trained dogs. 9/11 is a perfect example.

And then the dogs who capture our hearts, and the hearts of our children. The dog actors who excite, scare, entertain and always get the bad guy for us.

Dog heroes are rare, as are human heroes. It takes a particular type of breed to risk life for others. Whether dog or man, we salute you.

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Saturday, 23 September 2023

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