Canine Heroines

Dogs Can Be Heroes Too

Dwight D. Eisenhower hit the nail on the head when he said:“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Throughout the centuries, dogs have been known for their unsurpassed love and devotion, often coming to the rescue of their human counterparts in time of need. Man’s best friend has become heroes in countless ways, from being guide dogs to the blind to performing daring rescues and keeping us safe by sniffing out drugs, firearms and explosives, asking nothing in return but to be loved and cared for and enjoying some playful interaction from time to time.

While dogs are often seen as heroes simply by being loyal companions, many go over and above the call of duty, putting aside their fun, goofy mannerisms and utilizing their intelligence and instincts to the max. They selflessly take a leap of faith, often putting their own lives at risk to save a human life. There are countless tales of heroic dogs, such as the following, that leaves one almost giddy with love and appreciation for some of the most heroic canine companions ever to have lived.

Target, the hero of war

Chris Duke, a Georgia National Guardsman, owes his life to three street-bound dogs he befriended while serving his country in Afghanistan. The dogs, which were named Rufus, Sasha and Target alerted Duke’s unit of a suicide bomber that was approaching their barracks. The bomber was attacked and bitten by the dogs, detonating his bomb before reaching the entrance to the barracks. Sadly Sasha sustained such severe injuries that she had to be put down – luckily the other two dogs fully recovered. When Duke returned home he told the story of the hero dogs that saved his life – leading to a successful fund-raising initiative which saw Rufus and Target being brought over to the USA.

Duke adopted Rufus while Target went to live with Sgt Terry Young who also survived the same attack.  Due to her not being used to confined spaces, Target escaped from her yard in November 2010 and was subsequently picked up by animal control. Sgt Young found her after checking the shelter’s website and went the following Monday to fetch her, only to find that she was mistakenly euthanized.

The 9/11 canine heroes

The attacks of September 11, 2001, still haunt a large portion of the world but thanks to a group of brave and charismatic canines, hope was found amongst the wreckage of the World Trade Center. More than 300 trained search-and-rescue dogs assisted firefighters, police officers and rescue workers in their efforts to locate survivors.  If it wasn’t for one such rescue dog, Trakr, Port Authority secretary Genelle Guzman-McMillan would not have been alive today. Genelle was trapped amidst the rubble of the South Tower for more than 27 hours before Trakr found her. Most of the 9/11 rescue dogs worked tirelessly for as long as 12 hours at a time, successfully rescuing countless people who otherwise would probably have died.

Dogs are, in general, amazing animals, showering us with their unconditional love. They have an uncanny ability to detect when a human (or even another animal) is in danger and will do everything in their power to help save a life. While they might not receive the same recognition as their human contemporaries do, the valiant efforts of the various canine heroes across the globe are nothing short of praiseworthy.

Original copy by Lucy Benson