Category Archives: dog heroes

The Power of a Dog’s Bond

By Linda Cole

Late one night while outside with my three dogs, the sudden presence of a coyote startled us all; my dogs quickly gathered around me. I thought it was because they were scared, but they were ready to protect me. When a dog gives us their trust, the bond we share will never be broken by the pet. The following four dogs illustrate the importance of loyalty, love and a bond that can’t be broken.

Mari

When Mari gave birth to three Shiba Inu puppies the morning of October 23, 2004, she had no idea that by the end of the day, she’d be fighting to save her puppies and a human member of her family. That fateful day, a devastating earthquake rocked Japan. The village Mari’s family lived in was hit the hardest and most of the homes collapsed, including the one Mari was in with her pups. Violent tremors, and a leash restraining her, separated Mari from her pups. She struggled to free herself, but the leash wouldn’t budge. As more tremors came, Mari gave a last desperate pull and broke free. She quickly moved her pups to a safe place before racing back into the demolished home.

The grandfather had been in his room upstairs when the quake hit. Mari found him trapped under a dresser. As the old man slowly regained consciousness, she licked his face to let him know she was there. Mari ran back and forth checking on her pups and the grandfather, her paws cut and bleeding from walking over broken glass and porcelain. The grandfather eventually found the strength to push the dresser off and with Mari’s help, got out of the collapsed home.

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The Story of Chips the War Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

How many real life dogs can you think of who lived an adventurous and heroic life and then had a Disney movie made about them? Well, now you know of one: Chips, the War Dog! This is also the title of the 1990 Disney movie.

Chips is known as the most decorated war dog from World War II. A private citizen named Edward Wren was Chip’s owner until he donated the German Shepherd/Collie/Siberian Husky mix to the military for duty. In 1942, Chips attended the War Dog Training center in Virginia to become a sentry dog.

Once his training was complete, Chips traveled the world. He went with his handler Pvt. John P. Rowell and the 3rd Infantry Division to North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. In 1943, Chips and his handler were trapped on a beach in Sicily by an Italian machine gun team. Rather than simply survive, Chips broke free from his handler and jumped into the enemy’s “pillbox” (a type of barricade) to attack the gunners. The four men were forced to leave their station and surrender to U.S. troops. Later that same day, Chips helped take 10 Italians prisoner.

Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart medals, but they were revoked due to an Army policy that prevented awarding official commendations to animals. In recognition of his sacrifice, bravery and loyalty to his unit, the 3rd Infantry Division unofficially awarded Chips with a Theater Ribbon with an Arrowhead for an assault landing, and Battle Stars for each of his 8 campaigns as their fellow soldier. His fellow soldiers realized what the Army did not – that a dog is not just equipment!

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The Military Working Dog Foundation

By Langley Cornwell

Stories and photographs of soldiers bravely serving our country move me. Many of the stories depict another type of soldier, the four-legged type. The U.S. Military has been using working dogs to help defend our country since World War I. In fact, brave canine soldiers were used in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. War Dogs website estimates that these amazing military heroes saved more than 10,000 lives during the Vietnam conflict alone.

A quote on the U. S. War Dogs website says it all: “The capability they (Military Working Dogs) bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine. By all measures of performance their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory. Our Army (and military) would be remiss if we failed to invest more in this incredibly valuable resource.” – GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS, USA. 9 February 2008

While that’s impactful and inspirational, there comes a time when these military dogs are released from serving our country and must find a forever home. These dogs are at various stages in their lives; some are young dogs who didn’t meet the training standards of the military K-9 boot camp, some are older dogs that have completed their tours and it’s time for them to retire from service, and some are dogs that have been medically discharged from service due to sickness or injury that interfered with their ability to perform their mission. In all of these cases, the dogs need to find a safe and loving place to live out their years.

That’s where The Military Working Dog Foundation gets involved. This 501c3 non-profit organization’s mission is to help the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center find suitable homes for our four-legged soldiers after their period of service to our nation.

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Remembering Stubby, the Most Decorated Dog in History

By Langley Cornwell

The U.S. Military has been using Working Dogs since World War I. At that time, selfless American families donated their pets to the wartime efforts. These days, military dogs and their volunteer handlers are trained as sentry, trackers, scouts, mine/booby-trap/tunnel and water detection of enemy forces. These amazing animals were used in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. War Dogs website estimates that these courageous canine heroes saved more than 10,000 lives during the Vietnam conflict.

The website goes on to say that today, all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces are using Military Patrol Dogs who specialize in drug and bomb/explosive detection. At this time, there are roughly 600-700 military dogs in the Middle East in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. These valiant canines are patrolling air bases, ammunition depots, military compounds and military check points.

And it all started with a stray, mixed breed mutt named Stubby. Where he came from is a mystery; one day in 1917 Stubby just showed up at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut. At the time, soldiers were running drills and the pup playfully joined the ranks. All the soldiers were happy for the company but one soldier in particular, Corporal Robert Conroy, formed a swift and strong bond with the dog.

Conroy quickly noted Stubby’s intelligence. Without much effort, he taught Stubby to shake hands. Once Stubby mastered that trick, Conroy decided to teach him to raise his paw a little higher when he was given the order to ‘salute’.

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Dog Heroes That Saved Lives and Property

Shana

By Linda Cole

The bravery and loyalty of dogs fills the pages of history with unselfish acts of heroism. Dog heroes can be mixed breed and purebred, but the one thing they all have in common is a steadfast devotion to their owner. It can be argued that dogs act purely on instinct, but I think they also act on love and recognize when the people they love are in danger. Many dog heroes were rescued themselves by their owner.

Shana, a half wolf/half German Shepherd, was rescued as a sickly two week old pup. In 2006, she was 7 years old and weighed 160 pounds, which came in handy when she saved her owners, 81 year old Norman and Eve Fertig. The couple had been tending to animals on the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y. when a sudden winter storm hit in early December. The storm knocked down huge trees at the sanctuary, trapping the Fertigs between two buildings. It also knocked out the electricity.

Temperatures plunged to freezing, and Norman and Eve were trapped outside without warm clothes or shelter. What Shana did next amazed the couple and firemen who made it to the sanctuary the next morning to check on the couple. Shana began to dig through the snow and dirt under the fallen trees and kept digging until she had a ditch dug all the way to the house. She returned to Eve, grabbed her sleeve and slid the 86 pound woman onto her back. Norman grabbed Eve’s legs and Shana pulled both of them through the ditch to their home. Safely inside, she then laid across the couple to keep them warm through the night. From start to finish, it took Shana almost 8 hours to dig a trench 200 ft. long. She was given an award that’s usually only given to humans – the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment’s Hero’s Award for bravery.

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A Dog’s Intuition

By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve all seen the stories of heroic canine rescues, and remarkable behavior of loyal and loving pets. We’ve heard of service dogs and rescue dogs, but what about the heroic dogs that aren’t trained in any way but still perform amazing intuitive acts? Some of these may not be newsworthy, but they are evidence of the intuition that dogs have, and how they use it. Dogs are naturally in tune with the weather, their surroundings, and the humans around them.

Nature

Dogs can feel and smell the changes in the air when bad weather is brewing, and if the humans pay attention to their dogs they may be better prepared for whatever is coming. Everything from earthquakes to tornados and blizzards cause dogs to adopt a pack mentality of gathering those they feel responsible for and settling in for safety. Our dog Bear can hear or feel thunder before any of us, and she begins to make rounds of the house. We can tell she’s getting nervous because she tucks her tail and constantly runs from person to person almost like she’s herding us. Once we begin to hear thunder as well, we know why she was rounding up the pack. She often hides under the bed or some other protected small space but she keeps an eye on us and will run out to check if one of us is in another room.

People Skills

One thing I’ve always stood by is the belief that if a dog immediately decides not to like someone despite being “introduced” and never having any interaction with that person, there is something about the person that the dog recognizes as a threat in some way. I’ve seen it happen with even the most amiable dogs – someone triggers some sort of defense response in the dog and it simply will not warm up to that person. In all the cases I know of, the dog was right.

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