CLOSE

9 Dedicated Dogs with Amazing Jobs

Dogs live to please us, and some are bred to love work. Give them a job helping people, and the rewards go both ways. Here are nine dogs who do amazing work every day.

1. GANDER

Veteran Lon Hodge suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after his military service and was declared 100% disabled. Hodge was paired with a Labradoodle service dog trained through Freedom Service Dogs of America, an organization that rescues dogs from shelters and custom-trains them for veterans with differing needs. Gander was slated to be euthanized when he was taken for training. Now he is Hodge's constant companion, trained to intervene when his voice changes or when there's too much noise.

Gander can also open doors, pick up objects, help Hodge rise from the floor, and about a hundred other tasks. Hodge was so inspired that he and Gander now travel the country, advocating for service dog programs that help other veterans. Gander won the 2016 American Humane Hero Dog Awards for top service dog. He also has his own Facebook page.

2. AND 3. DENVER AND ANNA

Denver and Anna are full-time hospital dogs. They go to work every day at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, where they interact with the young patients. The two golden retrievers (Denver also has some Labrador in him) provide a bit of normalcy for children going through scary procedures who may be a long way from their homes and their own pets. Denver and Anna were specially trained to behave themselves, show affection, and calm and soothe anxious patients. Both Denver and Anna came from Canine Assistants, an organization in Milton, Georgia that trains dogs to help people with disabilities or special needs.

4. AXLE

Milk-Bone

Axle is a therapy dog that belongs to Tom Meli, but he is open to helping a number of people with his calm, comforting demeanor. Axle and Tom visit schools, hospitals, and senior centers to share the love. Axle provides stress relief for people with epilepsy and sits with children while they learn to read. He's become quite an ambassador for therapy dogs! Axle was also trained by Canine Assistants.

5. EGGROLL

Milk-Bone

Eggroll is Elizabeth's service dog. He helps her control her epilepsy by providing a calming influence, opening the refrigerator door, fetching medication when needed, and has even learned to dial 911 when he sees an emergency. Eggroll's help means that Elizabeth can safely live on her own.

6. PIPER

Milk-Bone

Piper combines fierce loyalty to her human with willingness to help whole classes of children. Kaitlin Miller has epilepsy, which Piper is very aware of. She can fetch medication when Miller needs it, and calms her through seizures. Miller conducts horse riding lessons for children with special needs at her riding stable, and Piper has become an integral part of the class, by showing gentleness, stress relief, and infinite patience for the students. Piper, Eggroll, and Axle have all been named to Milk-Bone's third-annual list of “Dogs Who Changed the World.”

7. FARLEY

Farley is still a puppy, but she recently got her first full-time job at East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee. At seven months old, Farley is undergoing a six-week training course, after which she will be the hospital's first full-time facility support dog.

The children's hospital has used part-time volunteer therapy dogs for their young patients before. One patient, 16-year-old Kristyn Farley, loved the therapy dogs so much that she suggested the hospital take one on full-time. Kristyn did not survive her cancer, and the new puppy Farley is named in her honor. Farley was purchased through a grant from PetSmart Charities.

8. ANGUS

Angus the springer spaniel has a hospital job, but he's not a therapy dog. Instead, Angus is an inspector, trained to sniff out the highly contagious bacteria Clostridium difficile, commonly called C. diff, the scourge of modern hospitals. Dog trainer Teresa Zurberg almost died from a C. diff infection a few years ago. Her husband, who is a nurse at Vancouver General Hospital, suggested she train a dog to detect the bacteria. Zurberg did so, using the same methods she already used to train dogs to sniff out drugs and explosives.

Angus began learning as a puppy, and was deployed last summer to work at Vancouver General. He identifies areas where C. diff is growing so that the hospital can do a targeted cleaning and ultraviolet disinfection. Angus is doing so well in his job that Zurberg is kept busy training dogs for other hospitals. In fact, he's been so impressive, the Vancouver hospital is adding a second C. diff-detecting dog. You can keep up with Angus through his Facebook page.

9. JUDGE

Chief Lee Laubach of the Allentown, Pennsylvania, Fire Department took on a trained arson investigation dog in 2011. Judge is a Labrador retriever who can recognize the scents of many different accelerants commonly used in arson cases. He's investigated hundreds of suspicious fires, leading to quite a few arrests and a substantial drop in arson cases in Allentown. Judge is also a public relations dog, accompanying Chief Laubach to schools to teach children about fire safety. Judge won the arson dog category in last year's American Humane Hero Dog Awards. Judge has his own Facebook page.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
Goodbye Fido, Hello Finn: The Most Popular Dog Names of 2017
iStock
iStock

What’s in a name? If you’re a dog, a clue into your pet parents’ favorite movies, television shows, and musicians, apparently. Rover.com, the country’s largest online network of dog walkers and pet sitters, has just revealed the most popular dog names of the year. While the majority of those names follow (human) baby-naming trends—11 of the top 20 names are also among the top 100 baby names—pop culture also plays a big part in the moniker pet parents bestow upon their four-legged furballs. How else would one explain the increasing popularity of names like Barb and Eleven, or Khaleesi, Arya, and Sansa?

There was an uptick in ‘90s nostalgia this year, too; Nirvana saw a 171 percent increase in popularity while Daria grew by 104 percent. Star Wars-inspired names have been a thing for 40 years now, but saw a 70 percent increase in 2017, with Finn being the most popular name from a galaxy far, far away.

So just how unique is your dog’s handle? Well, if his or her name is Max or Bella, not very. Read on to find out more, or visit Rover.com to discover the 100 most popular pooch names of 2017.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Smart Shopping
11 Brilliant Gifts for Your Dog
iStock
iStock

Don’t limit your shopping list to your human loved ones this holiday season. Here are some gifts that will keep your dog feeling clean, comfortable, and entertained into the new year.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. BLUE VELVET COAT; $44-$49

Blue velvet pet coat.
Up Country

Winter is a prime fashion opportunity for pets. This velveteen coat will keep your dog toasty outdoors, while also allowing them to look stylish. The interior is lined with silk and the collar is trimmed with faux fur to provide luxurious comfort. Whether you’re dressing a chihuahua or a German shepherd, the coat comes in whatever size you need.

Find It: Up Country

2. FALL LEAF DOG TREATS; $2

Dog treats shaped like leaves.
Woofables

Dogs enjoy seasonal treats just as much as the rest of us. Each of these gourmet dog biscuits is shaped into a colorful maple leaf with a white paw print stamped on the front. The ingredients, which include whole wheat flour, honey, oats, and carob icing, are just as wholesome as what you’d find in human health food.

Find It: Woofables

3. MALIN + GOETZ DOG SHAMPOO; $28

Dog shampoo.
Amazon

Make bath time a more pleasant experience for both you and your dog with a 16-ounce bottle of this hydrating shampoo. Blended with natural botanicals and amino acids, it washes away dirt without making skin feel dry or irritated. It leaves your dog’s fur looking as soft and shiny as a trip to the groomers would.

Find It: Amazon

4. FRESH PATCH; $19

Patch of grass in a cardboard box.
Amazon

House training a pet is hard—as is taking them out to pee in the middle of a snow storm. If your dog needs to relieve themselves inside, the Fresh Patch is your best option. The disposable cardboard container is filled with real hydroponically-grown grass, allowing your dog to pee indoors without associating the act with your floor or carpet. It's a great alternative for puppies who aren’t housebroken or owners who aren’t able to keep up with their pet’s pee schedule.

Find It: Amazon

5. NITE DAWG LED COLLAR COVER; $12

Dog wearing an illuminated collar.
Nite Ize

A safe pet is a happy pet. Strap these flexible, LED strips onto your dog’s regular collar before taking them for a walk or letting them outside at night. The glowing red light around their neck lets you keep an eye on them in case they stray too far.

Find It: Nite Ize

6. RAD DOG FOOD TRAVEL BAG; $35

Bag for dog treats.
Rad Dog

With this bag, you’ll have no excuse not to take your pet on vacation with you next year. The lightweight Cordura and nylon container consists of one main compartment for storing dry dog food and a smaller one for holding your dog’s accessories. Take up to 6 pounds of kibble with you on your next getaway.

Find It: Rad Dog

7. THE ODIN DOG TREAT PUZZLE TOY; $23

Geometric dog toy.
Amazon

Dogs can get a lot of use out of a good puzzle. This geometric toy comes in two colors, gray and pink, and can hold up to 1 cup of dog treats. As your pet kicks, nudges, and chews the object in an effort to access the food inside, you can finally take the opportunity to sit back and relax.

Find It: Amazon

8. RAD DOG COLLAPSIBLE POCKET BOWL; $12

Hand holding folded dog bowl.
Rad Dog

When taking your dog for a jog or hike, every ounce you carry can slow you down. Keep your load as light as possible with this collapsible dog bowl. The waterproof nylon container weighs less than an ounce and folds down to the size of a camera battery. Whenever you want to give your dog food or water on the go, the pocket bowl makes it easy.

Find It: Rad Dog

9. BARKBAR DRY SHAMPOO FOR DOGS; $10

Dry shampoo for dogs.
PetSmart

If there’s one thing dogs hate about grooming, it’s getting into the bathtub. With this dry shampoo you can get your pet clean without getting them wet. The lemon drop-scented formula refreshes your dog’s fur while eliminating nasty odors and adding a boost of moisture.

Find It: PetSmart

10. HARRY BARKER CREST PLAY BALLS; $3 EACH

Bucket of dog balls.
Amazon

It’s hard to beat the classics, so why not add another ball to your dog’s collection this holiday? These red tennis-style balls come emblazoned with the crest of Harry Barker, a brand known for its luxury pet products.

Find It: Amazon

11. RUFF WEAR FLOAT COAT; $80

Life vest for dogs.
Amazon

Every dog deserves to have fun in the water no matter the level of their swimming skills. Bring your dog to a lake, pool, or beach, strap them into this buoyant foam life vest, and watch them doggy-paddle to their heart’s content. The float coat comes in three colors, blue, red, and yellow, and sizes to fit extra-small to extra-large dogs.

Find It: Amazon

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios