There are hundreds of reports of canine bravery every month in the news. Stories about dogs showing loyalty to their humans by alerting them of fires, snakes, runaway cars, and it fascinates most readers/viewers. Looking into the history books, these amazing acts have been taking place for thousands of years. Peritas, the Molossian saved his human, Alexander the Great, in battle. Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier guarded his person’s grave for fourteen years. The four listed below are just a small fraction that illustrates the fascinating history of canine heroes!
Rags the Wonder Dog
In Paris during WWI Pvt. James Donovan found a scruffy mixed breed terrier and used the four legged companion to avoid arrest while he was away without leave. When Pvt. Donovan returned to the front lines, he brought his new friend with. Rags soon began delivering notes between outposts. A grim gas assault sent both soldier and dog back to the United States. Pvt. Donovan never recovered. Rags got well and became a national sensation recognized for his bravery.
A homeless Pitbull mix was dubbed stubby for his little legs by an infantry division during WWI. He quickly became the platoon’s mascot and alerted them of incoming intruders. Surviving his first gas attack, Stubby never forgot the smell of the chemicals and was quick to alert his people of upcoming attacks. Barking a warning, the troop was able to secure gas masks on themselves (and Stubby) before the gas did any damage.
Barry the Snow Hero
St. Bernard’s were often used in the Swiss Alps for search and rescue missions, however Barry’s story is rather special. He is credited with saving close to 40 people before retiring from rescue missions in 1812. Barry’s most talked about save was the small child he found on one of his treks. Barry licked the child’s face to keep the boy warm as he called out to the monks, letting them know their location. When the monks didn’t come, Barry nudged the boy up. Wrapping cold arms around the dog’s warm fur, Barry carried the child, on his back, to the monastery.
Chips the Decorated War Hero
A mix of German Shepherd, Collie and Husky, Chips was donated by his owner to the war effort at the beginning of WWII. Beginning active duty as a sentry dog, Chips traveled the globe with his unit. During an incursion in Sicily, 1943, the dog and his trainer were caught in enemy fire. Chips broke away from the unit and attacked the enemy, causing them to cease fire and surrender to the Americans. For his bravery, Chips was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. Although he was stripped of his medals (dogs weren’t allowed medals at the time), Chips was granted unofficial recognition. When the war ended in 1945, Chips was returned to his original family.