Dogs are everyday heroes in some ways. Not only are they our best friends, but they also help us in many ways; such as guiding, rescuing and even sniffing out hidden things like diseases. At “ruff” times, they are reliable and will be there to offer comfort. In one way or another, they prove their worth to us by doing amazing things. These non-judgemental friends can also be heroes at times. If they sense any kind of danger to their owner or family members, they are ready to put their lives on the line. Here, we have compiled a list of such canines who showed courage and determination by doing everything they could to save their family and friends from danger. These stories are sure to melt your heart.
1. Layka – The Hero Military Dog
In May 2012, Layka, a Belgian Malinois, was deployed in Afghanistan. The U.S. military combat dog was with her unit in 2013, when she was sent inside a building to check for enemies or other possible threats. While inside, an enemy combatant reigned a hail of bullets on her. Despite taking four rounds from an AK-47 to the right shoulder area, Layka managed to save the soldiers from the attacker by subduing him.
Her handler immediately carried her outside and ran towards a predetermined point for extraction, where the medics started working on her. She was transported to base where they had to amputate her leg to save her life. Then she was flown to Germany for additional surgeries to fix her shoulder and triceps. Layka overcame the ordeal and was adopted by her Afghanistan handler, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald.
2. Geo – The Wonder Dog
Geo, an 8-month-old German Shepherd, risked his life to save his best friend Carly Riley. In 2012, Riley and his two younger brothers were playing outside their home in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, when an out of control truck driver jumped the curb and drove towards the boys. Geo sensed the danger and pushed Riley out of harm’s way; only to take the hit himself.
The driver ran over the puppy and drove off. The German Shepherd-collie mix suffered a broken leg, fractured spine and severe bruising in the accident. Geo had to undergo more than five hours of surgery but managed to survive the horrifying ordeal. The middle class family struggled to pay the £8,000 medical bill but many well wishers came forward to help them save the heroic dog who risked his life.
3. Kelsey – The Warm Hugger
In 2017, a Michigan man named Bob decided to go outside to collect firewood. The temperature was -4°C (24.8°F) and Bob, who was only wearing long johns, a shirt and slippers, left his farmhouse for the short journey. After a few steps however, Bob slipped, fell and broke his neck. Unable to move, he screamed for help but the closest neighbor was about a quarter mile away. His screams did not go unheard though, since his five-year-old Golden Retriever ran up to him to help.
Despite the harsh temperature, Kelsey laid on top of Bob and kept him warm. She also licked his arms to keep him awake. For more than 24 hours, Bob and Kelsey laid on the ground, hoping that someone would come to help. The next evening, Bob couldn’t scream for help anymore but Kelsey kept on howling, to which a neighbor responded and discovered the two. Bob and Kelsey were both taken to the hospital and they made a full recovery.
4. Babu – The Tsunami Savior
Babu, a 12-year-old Shih-Tzu, loves to curl up and take naps. On March 11, 2011, a small quake struck off the Tohoku coast. Babu sensed the disaster heading towards their home and started running around. According to Tami Akanuma, her 83-year-old owner, Babu hates going for walks and on that particular day, she wouldn’t calm down. So, Tami grabbed the leash and headed out. Babu started pulling her leash towards the hill, which is not their normal route, but Tami decided to go ahead and let her lead the way.
Halfway up the hill, Tami had to stop to catch her breath. As she was resting, she turned around and saw that a big wave had struck, flattening the district of Taro-Kawamukai where they lived, their home consumed by a wall of muddy water. Even though Tami was horrified by the scene, she knew that her dog had sensed the tsunami heading towards them and was leading her away to a safe distance.
5. TatorTot – The Foster Dog
In 2013, TatorTot, a pitbull, was lonely and without a family. He spent months alone and since no one was adopting him, a Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Center decided to euthanize him. Just hours before he was supposed to be put down, a caring mother named Christi Smith decided to adopt him. Less than a week later, TatorTot proved his worth and returned the favor by saving Smith’s 4-year-old son.
On September 28th, 2013, Smith took TatorTot back to her house. Four days later, Smith put her 4-year-old to bed around 8:30 in the evening. The toddler woke up around midnight, asked for a drink and went back to bed. Smith didn’t think of anything other than the child being extremely tired, so she went back to bed. TatorTot however, sensed what was going on. He started barking and ran between the child’s and mothers room continuously. At first, Smith thought that TatorTot was just too hyper and started wondering if she made a mistake by bringing him home.
Finally, she decided to check on her son, where she found TatorTot at his side barking and licking his face. She noticed that he was barely moving or breathing. Smith raced him to the emergency room where they found that the toddler had dangerously low blood sugar levels. Although doctors aren’t exactly sure how it happened, since he tested negative for diabetes, they are sure of one thing; that TatorTot saved his life.
6. Figo – The Service Dog
In 2015, an 8-year-old golden retriever named Figo, who is a certified service dog, was crossing the street with his legally blind owner, Audrey Stone. The pair were walking across when a mini school bus approached them. Figo, who was walking on the left side, saw the bus coming towards them and switched to the right of Audrey. He then jumped in between the bus and Audrey. The vehicle struck both of them and they were both badly hurt.
Figo suffered injuries to the legs, while Audrey suffered a broken ankle, ribs and elbow, along with a wounded head. Witnesses, however, described Figo’s courageous effort to minimize his owner’s injuries.
7. Chako – The Rescuer
In 2013, when Chako’s owner was being attacked with a knife by her abusive partner, Chako jumped into action. He saw his owner in trouble and got in between her and the attacker. He tried his best to keep him away and shift focus towards himself by barking and biting repeatedly. As a result of Chako putting himself in harm’s way, the attacker turned on him and stabbed him more than a dozen times.
Chako was rushed to a local veterinary emergency by her beloved companion, who survived the horrifying ordeal. The pit bull needed surgeries that cost more than $3,000 but his owner couldn’t afford the veterinary bill. A PayPal fundraiser was started, and within a day, people from all over the world came together to help the heroic dog who risked his life to save his owner. Thanks to everyone’s support, Chako recovered completely and is back to protecting his beloved owner.
8. Buddy – The GPS Dog
In the Spring of 2010, Ben Heinrichs of Caswell Lakes, Alaska, was working on his garage when a spark from the heater ignited a tank of gasoline. The sudden burst of flames burned Ben’s arms and face, to which he ran outside and rolled until the flames were extinguished. Ben then ran into his burning garage to make sure that his beloved companion, Buddy, safely made it out. The 8-week-old German Shepherd was safe and Ben instructed Buddy to go get help.
The dog, with no special training, acted on its instinct and started running. Emergency services were called in by neighbors but the responding officer couldn’t locate the house because of an error with his GPS system. State Trooper Terrence Shanigan, however, saw a frantic dog running down the street. On a hunch, he started following the dog, who led the officer towards the fire. Thanks to Buddy’s quick response, firefighters were able to arrive in time and extinguish the flames before it reached the house. For his courageous actions, Buddy was honored at a hero’s ceremony by the Alaska State Police.
9. Angel – The Cougar Fighter
In 2010, 11-year-old Austin Forman of Boston Bar, British Columbia, was collecting wood in the backyard when he noticed his dog, Angel, acting weird. Unaware of the danger lurking behind the bushes, Austin kept collecting wood. Suddenly, a cougar charged towards Austin. Angel saw that her family was in danger and jumped in between the two. The 18-month-old Golden Retriever stopped the cougar from getting close to Austin as he ran inside to safety.
Austin ran into the house and screamed: ‘A cougar is eating Angel!’. The helpless family could only watch as their dog was being attacked. Austin’s mother called emergency services, to which an officer arrived immediately and had to put down the cougar. Even though she suffered severe injuries, to everyone’s surprise, Angel survived.
10. Duke – Baby’s Best Friend
The Brousseau family adopted Duke, a rescue dog, who was the missing piece of their family. Six years after being adopted, Jenna and her husband had a baby, whom Duke cared about greatly. On a Sunday night, the family had gone to bed early when Duke burst into their room, jumped on their bed and started shaking uncontrollably. The couple had never seen Duke behave like this, so they decided to check on their 9-week-old daughter, Harper; who wasn’t breathing.
Jenna’s husband immediately called an ambulance and the paramedics were able to revive the baby. She was then transported back to the hospital for additional checkup. The family credits Duke with saving their daughter and in an interview with ABC News, she said: “If Duke hadn’t been so scared, we would have just gone to sleep. He’s the perfect dog, he was meant, meant to be ours”.