8 Wonderful Dog Stories
When I compiled the post 10 Stories of Lifesaving Dogs, I found more heroic dogs than I needed that day, plus quite a few other dogs that accomplished wonderful things. Here are the stories of eight more.
1. Cairo the SEAL Dog
Cairo the military dog was born and bred for the job. He is a Belgian Malinois, a shepherd breed that few were familiar with, until Cairo's story became news. After Cairo trained to be a Military Working Dog at a young age, he advanced to Navy SEAL training. Cairo was the only dog to accompany Navy SEAL Team 6 as they raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. Cairo was strapped to his handler as they were lowered from a helicopter, and wore special body armor while bursting into the compound. The dog is the only member of SEAL Team 6 to be publicly named.
2. Dozer the Marathon Dog
Dozer, a three-year-old "goldendoodle," saw a bunch of people run by his home in Fulton, Maryland. He became so excited that he crossed his invisible fence and started running with them. Seven miles later, Dozer crossed the finish line of the Maryland Half Marathon, a fundraising event for the University of Maryland's Greenebaum Cancer Center. The runners did not know Dozer was alone. He returned home the next day, looking so tired that his owners took him to the vet. Word got around, and they realized Dozer was the dog on the marathon's TV coverage. Marathon organizers gave Dozer a special award. Now he has his own runner's page and Facebook fan page -and he's raised $21,000 for the cancer center!
3. Lada the Loyal Babysitter
Olga, a 22-year-old woman in Saratov, Russia took her dog and her baby son Vadim to a park and met up with friends. After a few drinks, Olga went home and left her baby behind! Luckily, her dog Lada was with the baby. Olga woke the next morning and realized the child was missing. She thought Vadim had been abducted, but her father went to the park and found the baby in his pram, with Lada still beside him. The rottweiler had stood guard over him all night long. Vadim was wet and hungry, but unharmed, and was placed in the care of his grandmother.
4. Belle Calls 911
Kevin Weaver has diabetes. He also has a specially-trained beagle named Belle who can sense when his blood sugar levels are off. She licks his nose, and then paws at him to signal that he should take a reading. In the summer of 2006, Belle put another skill to work. Weaver suffered a seizure and collapsed. Belle grabbed the man's cell phone and bit down on the number 9, just like she had been trained. The number was programmed to dial 911, and emergency workers soon arrived. Belle was later given the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award for those who use cell phones to save lives. Belle was the first dog to ever win the award.
5. Dorado the Brave Guide
Omar Eduardo Rivera is a blind computer technician who uses a guide dog. On September 11, 2001, Rivera was working on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center when a plane hit the building above him. His dog Dorado was under Rivera's desk, as usual. As the building evacuation began, Rivera smelled the smoke and heard the chaos in the stairwell. He took the Labrador retriever's leash off, so the dog could escape. Dorado ignored Rivera's order to go ahead, and escorted his master down 70 flights of stairs. They were separated by the rush of the crowd for a few minutes, but Dorado found his way back to Rivera and continued down the stairs. They reached the ground about an hour after they began the descent, only a few minutes before the building collapsed.
6. Chaser the Dog of Many Words
Border collies are known for their intelligence. Chaser is a border collie that belongs to a retired psychology professor. John W. Pilley read about a dog who learned to recognize 200 German nouns, and decided to see if Chaser could learn words as well. Working with the dog for around five hours a day, Chaser learned to recognize the names of a couple of new objects every day, to a current total of 1,022 nouns! Along the way, Chaser got the idea that learning words is her job, so now the 82-year-old Pilley has a hard time taking it easy, as Chaser demands her lessons! Pilley is now teaching Chaser verbs and basic grammar.
7. Rowan the Echolocator
A German spitz named Rowan was born without eyes, but gets around almost as well as a sighted dog. Rowan learned to use the reverberations of his bark to determine where objects are in the great outdoors. This is a version of echolocation, in which a blind person (or dog, in this case) creates a mental map by comparing the way sound bounces back in an echo. Rowan was not taught to "see" this way, but his owners noticed how his behavior outside changed when the trees filled out with leaves. Most people who meet Rowan don't even realize he is blind -they just wonder why he keeps his eyes shut.
8. Dexter the War Hero
Dexter's full name is Military Working Dog Dexter CO67, but he is now retired after service in Afghanistan. Dexter served for six years, during which time he detected a garbage truck filled with explosives and saved at least a thousand military personnel and civilians. After his tour, he was scheduled to be euthanized because of hip problems and the fact that military dogs are hard to place for adoption because of their aggressiveness. His handler, Kathleen Ellison, went to work to save Dexter through the organization Military Working Dog Adoptions. Veteran Danny Scheurer, who worked with dogs during his military service, agreed to adopt Dexter and bring him home to Spring Grove, Illinois. Dexter also became the first canine member of the American Legion when he was accepted as a full member by Fox Lake American Legion Post 703.