Harboring a much different psychology then humans, dogs often go to surprising, selfless lengths to protect their owners, their pack family, from danger. Countless rescue dog stories exist to tell their tales.
Boxer Suffers Critical Injuries in Dog Rescue Attempt
Feb. 9. 2015– A team of DVM’s at Cincinnati’s Care center, a critical care veterinary hospital, race to save the life of Carmen, a nine year old Boxer. Carmen was severely injured when a hose fire broke out the basement of her Ohio home. Instead of fleeing to safety, the dog was found on top of her owner, heroically shielding his face from deadly heat, smoke and flame, suffering critical injuries for her efforts.
Battling severe lung damage, Carmen slowly recovered with the overwhelming support of medical workers, her owner’s family (who sadly didn’t make it) and the surrounding community as a whole as they rallied to the rescue dog.
Rescue Dog Saves US Veteran Owner by Dialing 911
Major, a Labrador Retriever/Pitbull mix and a trained rescue dog, actually DIALED 911, saving the life of his ex-marine owner. By pawing and biting at his owner’s iPhone, the dog managed to call 911 a total of 10 times (thankfully; dispatchers were reported to have ignored the first several, thinking they were pranks) and alert respondents to his owner’s condition.
Major had been a rescue himself, putting to rest any question as to the quality of rescued dogs.Terry McGlade, suffering from PTSD- having been injured in Afghanistan and seizing at the time, claims his dog was actually able to dig the phone from his pocket. Rescue workers arrived a short while later to find Major waiting, then were led to the back yard and to McGlade.
Pit Bull Dog Suffers GSW in Defense of Family
July 22, 2013– Lefty, a Pitbull, arrived at Atlantic Animal Hospital, suffering from a gun shot wound.
Earlier that night, four intruders entered her families’ home, one attempting to shoot Lefty’s ‘dad’. Lefty’s owners claim she stepped in between the intruders and her family, taking the bullet meant for her father.
Her right front shoulder injured, muscles torn and humerus shattered, Veterinarians concluded an amputation was necessary. However, having been robbed, Leftys’ family could not pay for the operation.
Hospital workers helped spread the word over Facebook, a single post receiving over 4,000 shares and approximately 75% of the funding required in one day. In the end, donations covered nearly 100% of the cost for the operation, and Lefty recovered nicely.
Pet Loses Limb After Rescuing Owner from Path of Oncoming Train
September, 2012– Lilly, also a Pitbull, pulled her unconscious owner from the path of an oncoming freight train.
The train’s engineer, and only witness, told police he saw a dog frantically pulling at its’ owner as he drew closer. Having done all he could to stop the train, he heard a ‘thump’, and thought he hit both.
Once able to stop the train, the engineer was relieved to find the owner safe and uninjured.
Unfortunately, Lilly was not so lucky; having suffered a severe foot injury and multiple pelvic fractures, as well as other internal injuries. Lilies right front leg was later amputated, but she survived the ordeal and slowly recovered.
7 Pound Yorkie Dog Rescues Owner from Black Bear
July, 2013– Joe, a little Yorkshire Terrier, saved his owner from a 100 pound Black Bear.
Distracted by the ring of her phone, Deborah Epstein left her front porch, absently leaving her front door open. Seconds later, she reported hearing Joes’ frantic barking; nothing unusual for the breed. However, upon turning around she was greeted by the sight of a Black Bear heading toward Joes’ food dish in her living room.
Reacting how I am sure you would expect from the toy breed, Joy growled, barked, lunged and nipped at the much larger bear until it finally decided the food wasn’t worth the effort, and left. Why the bear didn’t simply swat the dog to oblivion is as much a mystery to me as I am sure it is to you.
August, 2015- In a similar rescue dog story, 66 year old Larry Lopez not only survived a bear attack, suffering lacerations and puncture wounds over much of his body, but actually owed his survival to his tiny Yorky, Benji, who nipped at the bear long enough to provide Lopez a means of escape.
Guide Dog Saves Infant From Oncoming Car
Sep. 20, 2013- A guide dog rescues an infant from oncoming traffic. A legally blind UK woman, Jessica Cowley, requires the assistance of a guide dog named Jet.
Before I continue with these rescue dog stories – let me point out- dogs maintain a very powerful sense of smell, and their hearing can be broken down to perhaps 3X ours. Their eyesight, however- is in question; the visual acuity of a dog is 20/80 to our 20/20. Their sight is designed to pick up the small, quick movements of prey, not to distinguish features- much of our world is nothing but a blur to them. That being said, rapidly moving traffic can pose a very deadly threat.
While Jessica was out with her one year old son, Jacob, Jet – with a deep show of animal bravery- was miraculously able to spot an oncoming car headed straight for them (consider what it would take for a dog to clearly discern out a rapidly approaching object from a distance at the speeds vehicles travel).
Though Jessica was hit, she claims Jet not only wrestled out of her arms just before, but managed to push the stroller carrying her son out of the vehicles’ wake, and save Jacob from danger. Cowley claims Jet was never trained to act in a protective manner towards her son.
After reading all these rescue dog stories, I don’t know how anyone can question the surprising intellectual capabilities and loyalty of ‘Mans Best Friend’.
Many abilities that guide and rescue dogs posses require extensive training, abilities that no other animal can perform. Search and rescue dogs are often able to follow a scent over a day old from more than a mile away; the only other animal in existence thought to be capable of rivaling the Canine sense of smell is a bear (which is all but un-trainable, for obvious reasons). There is no other species on our planet better suited for the task.
The Bloodhound sense of smell and tracking ability is so powerful, it is often accepted as fact in a court of law.
On the other hand- risking and even giving their lives to rescue an owner isn’t something that is trained, it is a very natural instinct; you can’t train an animal to knowingly and willingly die for you. In the wild, wolves rely on their pack members, their family, for survival- a pack-less wolf can easily end up a dead wolf. Thus they will defend each other to the death. The same holds true to most dogs today; the psychology of this most base behavior hasn’t changed even in these rescue dog stories.
Rescue Dog Stories – Unfortunate Reality
All the while, innumerable animals are sitting at hundreds of shelters throughout our country, (many awaiting an inevitable death at the end of a syringe), possessing talents and skills nothing else on earth is capable of, a loyalty unmatched by any human. These dogs are easily capable of a devotion that rivals mother and child, would and have unquestionably given their lives to protect human family members.
For all of our vast capabilities of intellectual thought and intricate reasoning, we somehow can’t, as a species, come up with a use for these incredible creatures. Over a million dogs are euthanized annually in our country alone, nearly always because shelters lack the funding to care for them. How many American soldiers suffered critical injury and death from hidden explosives dogs would have been easily capable of detecting and rescuing had they been there? How many human victims passed from cancerous disease medical studies have shown dogs are capable of smelling early on?
Rescue Dogs were in fact used to aid us through history, but unfortunately just as often not in a way that best utilized their unique sensing abilities. This is what sets the species apart from any other; even the impressive tracking abilities of nature’s great hunting cats pale in comparison. Not the brutal, un-characteristic violence they are equally as often trained for even today.