They say dogs are man’s best friend and it’s true that in most cases they will do their best to please you and keep you smiling. They will curl up with you when you are feeling down and try to cheer you up, and they will never hold your mistakes against you or judge you for your bad decisions, looks, or failures in life. They will be your unconditional friends and will never betray you.
However, there have been many dogs that were so much more than just loyal friends; they were dogs that saved the lives of many people or even changed the world with their heroic acts. Here are 25 cases of incredible dogs that will make you respect dogs for the rest of your life.
Honey, a cute cocker spaniel, was with her boss when he backed a little too far out of his driveway, sending his SUV plunging forty feet into a ravine. The vehicle landed on its roof, pinning sixty-three-year-old Michael Bosch inside. After several hours, Honey was able to escape when Bosch managed to roll down a window and told the dog to get help, Honey got the attention of of a man about a half-mile away and brought him to the scene of the accident consequently saving Mr. Bosch’s life.
Trakr, a German shepherd survivor detection dog, made history when he became the dog that found the last survivor of the World Trade Center attack on September 11. For his accomplishments, Trakr was named one of history’s most heroic animals by Time. Trakr died in 2009 at age fourteen.
Danelle Ballengee, an experienced hiker, became the victim of a violent fall during one of her hikes, from which she suffered a shattered pelvis and had to spend fifty-six hours in this condition in a canyon near Moab, Utah, without food and freezing weather conditions. Luckily for Danelle, her dog, Taz, literally saved her life when he led rescuers to her.
In 1919, a ship called Ethie crashed into rocks, stranding ninety-three sailors on the stormy seas. After one of the sailors tried unsuccessfully to swim to shore with a rope, the ship’s captain gave the rope to Tang, a Newfoundland who lived aboard the Ethie. Tang proceeded to take the rope and swim to shore, battling waves, strong winds, and strong currents. Against all odds, Tang reached shore where locals used the Rope to anchor the ship and also help rescue the men on-board.
Swansea Jack was a small terrier dog from Wales with a big heart and lots of courage that became famous in the 1930s for rescuing people from the sea. He saved twenty-seven people and won many awards for his heroic act including the dog’s “Victoria Cross.”
Neo, a gorgeous Siberian husky, is another loyal dog that helped his boss to survive by getting human help to rescue her. When Marci Snead, a diabetic patient, went into hypoglycemic shock, Neo ran to the nearest building. There, he grabbed the attention of several people who followed him back to where Snead had fallen. Within moments, an ambulance was called and the woman was rushed to a nearby hospital where she recovered.
Stubby, a Boston bull terrier, was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to this day to be nominated for a rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat.
Pui, a male Thai Bangkaew has earned heroic status all over Thailand for saving the life of a newborn girl found in a garbage dump. The dog discovered the baby inside a plastic bag at the roadside tip in Bangkok which he then carried to his owner Gumnerd Thongmak’s house and barked loudly to get his attention. The owner, found the premature baby girl and rushed her to the hospital. The heroic actions of the dog saved the child which earned Pui a leather collar and a medal from the Tha Rua district Red Cross.
Maya earned the 2008 Dog of the Year award by saving Angela Marcelino, her owner, from a vicious male attacker. The loyal pit bull’s act of bravery earned mad respect from the Animal Miracle Foundation, which stated that pit bulls can be hero dogs just like any other breed despite all the bad hype surrounding them.
It would be impossible to make a list with remarkable dogs and not include the first animal to successfully orbit the Earth, which made Laika a worldwide hero and probably the first dog in history to become a global icon regardless of nationality.
In 2012, a heroic Kenyan dog named Mkombozi found an infant, wrapped in rags, in the Ngong Forest where she was scavenging for food. She was seen dragging a package (with the baby inside) across a busy road and through a barbed-wire fence before disappearing in the poor Nairobi neighborhood where she was living with her puppies. The infant and dog were soon discovered after two children heard the sound of a baby crying near their wooden shack, and alerted their parents. The baby was taken to the hospital for treatment for exposure, where she recovered after a few weeks in intensive care.
Ironically, a courageous black Labrador named Katrina became a hero during the natural disaster that shared her name—Hurricane Katrina. She saved a drowning man before rising floodwaters claimed his life. Katrina, who was later rescued herself by rescue teams, was honored at that year’s Genesis Awards with a standing ovation.
Jim the “Wonder Dog”
Jim the Wonder Dog was a Llewellin Setter that had some of the most special talents any animal has ever demonstrated. According to various sources Jim could accurately predict the sex of unborn babies as well as the winner of the Kentucky Derby. He also predicted the Yankee victory in the 1936 World Series, only a year before dying at age twelve.
Jackie, a Dalmatian mix, is easily the most notorious dog on this list and one of the most notorious dogs of World War II. Why? Well, for those who aren’t in the know, Jackie’s amazing ability to give the Nazi salute on command earned her the nickname “Nazi Dog.”
In 2013, a beautiful dog named Jade saved a newborn baby that had been abandoned in Birmingham Park, England. According to the British news, Roger Wilday, a sixty-eight-year-old man, had been walking his nine-year-old German shepherd, Jade, when the dog suddenly sprinted toward some bushes. Jade laid down next to what appeared to be a discarded carrier bag and refused to return to her owner’s side until he approached her and discovered the abandoned baby.
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who rose to fame in nineteenth-century Scotland for being the first faithful dog in modern history. Bobby supposedly spent fourteen years guarding the grave of his owner until he himself died on January 14, 1872. The story of Greyfriars Bobby continues to be famous in Scotland to this day through several books and films and a prominent statue honoring him has become a major tourist attraction of the area.
Toby, a golden retriever, took home the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Dog of the Year Award in 2007 for saving his owner, Debbie Parkhurst, from choking to death on an apple in her home. When it became apparent that she was choking, the dog leaped hard onto her chest and forced the lodged morsel to come loose from her throat.
Arguably the most famous Asian dog in history, Hachikō was an Akita dog and is remembered to this day for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, which continued for many years after his owner’s death. The 2009 film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere, was based on this heart-warming story.
When Eve and Norman Fertig rescued a sick, two-week-old half-wolf, half-German shepherd puppy from a breeder, they’d never dreamed the animal would one day save their lives in return. During an extreme snowstorm Shana found the elderly couple trapped in the snow and stayed with them. She started digging a tunnel through which she could pull the couple back to the safety of their home.
This beautiful German shepherd honors every letter of the word hero since he literally took a bullet for his human family. When a masked intruder made his way into his boss’s household, Moti wasted little time, leaping to his feet and barking to draw the gunman’s attention. Faced with the angry pooch, the gunman shot him and ran off without harming any of the family. Fortunately, Moti made a full recovery.
Arguably one of the most popular dogs in the world in the past few years, Loukanikos, also known as the “Riot Dog,” was in the center of the action and became a global symbol of resistance during the protests against austerity measures in Greece. Loukanikos’s health was severely burdened from inhaling tear gas and other chemicals during the riots in which he participated and he died on October 9, 2014. His story was covered by Reuters, BBC News, CNN, and Time magazine among others, while his image is immortalized in a mural on one of the city’s main streets.
Belle isn’t just another loyal friend to her boss or even an ordinary lifesaver; she’s incredibly smart too. When her diabetic owner, Kevin Weaver, had a seizure and collapsed Belle started biting Weaver’s cell phone to call 911. Belle, who had been taught to bite down on the number 9 on the cell phone to contact 911, proved that dogs are much smarter than some of us think.
Almost two hundred years after his death, Barry, a Swiss mountain rescue dog for the Great St. Bernard Hospice, is still famous around the world for saving the lives of more than forty people during his life.
In 1925, a life-and-death race to deliver desperately needed anti-toxins from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, turned a sled dog named Balto into a hero. Balto’s legend still lives on today through popular culture and in 1995 Universal Studios released the popular animated family feature of the same name, featuring the voices of Kevin Bacon and Bob Hoskins.
Apollo was an NYPD search and rescue dog that arrived at the World Trade Center fifteen minutes after the attacks on September 11, 2001. He was the first rescue dog on the scene and at one point he was almost killed by fire and falling debris. He went on to receive the Dickin Medal, which is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, on behalf of all rescue dogs at the World Trade Center that day.