Dogs are truly amazing. They are loyal companions who will stand by our side through tough times and will love us, play with us, and rescue us. The following are stories about four heroic dogs who have made a significant difference in the world. Not only are their stories important, but they represent other heroic dogs just like themselves who also do the same remarkable work everyday.
Bretagne the Search and Rescue Dog
At the beginning of this month, the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department in Texas gave a farewell salute to the last remaining 9/11 search and rescue dog. This 16-year old golden retriever’s name was Bretagne, and she had almost a decade of active duty service. Like many other search and rescue dogs, she had helped with the months-long operation to find survivors after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. Her good deeds did not stop there. Bretagne and her handler even spent time volunteering at a local school to help children with autism. She is definitely a heroic dog and will not be forgotten!
Cooper the Battle Buddy
Many veterans have turned to services dogs to help them with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cooper is one such service dog who has helped a veteran—Michael Roark—with his PTSD symptoms. Roark even stated: “I get anxiety when I get into large crowds. He’s been trained to make me concentrate on him instead of the people around me.” Roark also noted how Cooper will wake him up from nightmares and night tremors. Service dogs like Cooper give veterans an added sense of protection and help them cope with anxiety.
Juke the Retired Lead Sled Dog
Juke, a loyal Lab, was once a lead dog for a sled team in Alaska. Like many lead dogs, he knew what to do, when to run and rest, and where to go. However, hip dysplasia ended his sled pulling days. But, his work as a smart and loyal team player were not over. After some training, he was soon paired with a 16-year-old Alaskan boy who has autism. The boy’s name is Logan, and with Juke by his side, Logan was able to attend school, socialize, and walk around town on his own. Juke was even trained to lean against Logan to calm him down and to find Logan if he wandered off. Juke has recently retired due to old age and another service dog has taken up the responsibility to help Logan.
Jan the Service Dog
Jan is a black Labrador who assists a lady named Mary Ann Carey. Carey has been deaf from birth, and she lives at home alone. Therefore, Jan has been a great addition to her family and helps alert Carey to various sounds—such as the doorbell ringing. Currently, they are working on getting Jan to alert Carey to the fire alarm. Jan and Carey have bonded well, and Carey can even instruct Jan through sign language! Service dogs like Jan help bring safety and security to people’s lives. What awesome heroes!
Moral of these Stories
All of these dogs, their trainers, and their handlers have made a positive impact on society and on individual people. And did you know…some therapy dogs and service dogs were once shelter dogs! Therefore, if you ever have a chance, try to give some support to organizations and people who are dedicated to transforming shelter dogs into heroic dogs!