6 Historical Dogs Who Influenced Life As We Know It

Any dog owner knows that a good dog will completely change your life–by making it much, much better.

But there have been some dogs throughout history that have done deeds so heroic and so significant, they have helped shape the world as we know it.

Adapted from The Dogington Post and CNN, Here are 6 pup pioneers whose amazing lives have altered the course of history.

1. Laika The Stray Space Dog

In 1954, Soviet Union scientists trained this mild-mannered, former stray into space to prove that life could be sustained during takeoff and in outer space. In their haste to prove the success of their technology to the world, Laika was sent into orbit, despite the fact that they had no ability to get her back down to Earth.

The media was told that the pup had been euthanized before she ran out of oxygen, six days after breaking through the atmosphere; but it was revealed in 2002 that her real cause of death was overheating.

It was a terrible way for this poor pup to die. She will forever be known as one of the pioneers of space travel for humans, and for that, she is a hero.

Laika Stamp
Wikimedia Commons

2. Balto, The Husky Who Saved An Entire Town

In 1925, the town of Nome, Alaska desperately needed vaccines transported to them in the midst of a diphtheria outbreak as a blizzard raged in the dead of winter.

With no other way to access the small town, mushers and their sled dogs rushed the medicine over 674 miles through remote Alaskan terrain. With temperatures plummeting around 60 below zero, Balto and his handler navigated a particularly treacherous route, completing the last leg of the journey. Because of Balto and sled dogs like him, Nome was saved from the possibility of being wiped out, entirely.

Wikimedia Commons

3. Donnchadh, The Dog Whose Actions Resulted An American Revolution

In 1306, Donnchadh’s owner, Robert the Bruce had his eyes on the Scotland throne. When Edward I of England went after him to thwart his plans, the dog defended his master, sparing his life. Robert the Bruce went on to reign.

Generations later, his descendant, King George III, angered American colonists to the brink of sparking the American Revolutionary War. America as we know it fell into the fateful paws of a dog, centuries ago.

Revolutionary War
Wikimedia Commons

4. Jofi, The First (Unofficial) Therapy Dog

Freud is a famous name in psychology, but did you know his dog accompanied him on many of his sessions?

In fact, the psychotherapist noted that when his patients were in the presence of his Chow Chow, they seemed more relaxed, comfortable, and candid. This could be one of the best contributions that Freud pioneered in the treatment of mental health!

Chow Chow
Would you be more likely to open up to me?

5. The Pooch Who Co-Invented Velcro

You know those burs that stick to your clothes after a trek through the woods? When Swiss inventor George de Mestral took his dog out for a jaunt some time in the early 1940’s, he noticed these pesky spheres sticking to his dog’s fur.

After examining them under a microscope, he saw that the burs were able to cling by their tiny hooks. Hence, Velcro was inspired and invented. Imagine, getting through your toddler years without these sticky strips on your shoes!


6. Buddy, America’s First Sight Service Dog

In 1927, Morris Frank had become completely blind do to multiple injuries to his eyes. When his father read him a newspaper article by Dorothy Harrison Eustis, a woman who observed sight-impaired WWI veterans being guided by their dogs, Frank decided to write to her.

They arranged for his visit to Sweeden, where he med Eustis. He was also introduced to Buddy, a female German Shepherd. They spent the next month bonding, training, and learning to trust each other. She became his Seeing Eye Dog.

When Frank and Buddy returned to America, he opened the first institute to train these Service Dogs. They were also the first to influence laws that allowed guide dogs into public places, which led to other movements in disability rights. What a contribution to this country, and the world!

Service Dog

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