feactures fun and frolic

Extraordinary pooches

feactures fun and frolicForget about superman or other mythical superheroes, the real superheroes are here… right in front of us. They can see in the dark, hear things from 420 meters away, run over 72 kilometres per hour, and pull over eight times their body weight. Some can even jump over eight meters, and are dirt and fireproof. And to top things off, they’re our best friends. Yes! We are talking about the canine buddies!

Dogs are extraordinary; they possess remarkable sensory and physical capabilities beyond that of humans.

We are nosey!

Paddy is a Black Irish Labrador, who is part of Malaysia’s first ever K-9 unit trained to detect pirated discs. While, Lola is a three-year-old brown Labrador who works as part of the Unidad Canina De Rescate Y Salvamente K9 rescue team with her owner Christian Kuperbank in Argentina. Lola is involved in several operations to locate alive and dead human bodies in disaster situations.

What’s more? Sam, a Springer Spaniel, is one of UK’s leading fire investigation dogs, who can sniff out potential fire accelerants after a fire has taken place. He can smell 16 different substances, even those considered odourless by human senses!

And Diesel, a Staffordshire Bull terrier in South Africa can track cheetahs while a few trained Labradors in Queensland can track ant – the tiny invaders.

We are sensitive!

Dogs can sense human emotions by picking up on the smell of hormones secreted, and can also detect cancer and blood sugar levels with high accuracy. They can even be trained to detect cancer in patients by smelling their breath and be accurate 90 percent of the time. Some dogs are also able to detect a diabetic’s drop in blood sugar a full 15 minutes before the blood test. A new charity ‘Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs’ in the UK trains dogs as bio-detectives by honing their natural ability to detect cancer and pick up high or low blood sugar levels.

We are caretakers!

Bingo, a Jack Russell Terrier, regularly saves the life of Cole, his ten-year-old owner in Canada. Cole has a life-threatening condition that causes him to suddenly stop breathing, and Bingo has been trained to alert Cole’s parents by barking whenever he hears the boy starts to wretch.

We are agile!

Dogs are true Olympic athletes; they can swim, run long distances, jump hurdles, etc. Alaskan huskies and Siberian huskies compete in the La Grande Odyssee Savoie Mont Blanc, the toughest international sled dog race in the world.

We are Baywatchers!

Zoe, a Golden Retriever, in 2007, rescued a fisherman whose boat had overturned out at sea, pulling the boat shore with the fisherman hanging on. He is a part of the Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs working along Italy’s coastline. These dogs are trained to rescue from distances of a few 100 metres to 4 km.

We have the ability to heal!

No dog is ordinary – they work on a day to day basis, healing and saving us. Nepal, a black Labrador Retriever, is assisting Jason Morgan, a former soldier, who was seriously injured on a mission in Ecuador ten years ago – he was left paralysed from the waist down. He has given Jason back his independence and confidence.

Besides, dog providing therapeutic benefits to terminally ill children, is a well known fact today.

We are true companions!

Another dog named Maybe, a Golden Retriever, lives with Christie, who suffers from epilepsy. Maybe is a seizure alert dog and can alert Christie to an oncoming epilectic seizure 30 minutes before it occurs, giving her time to get into a safe position where she can’t injure herself. There are many many more….

We can guide!

The director of the French Guide Dog Association, Alain Gillet, has been blind since childhood, but his guide dogs became his eyes. His guide dog Buster even accompanied him on the infamous turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner – Concord, making Buster the ‘supersonic dog.’

We can protect you!

Border Collies are being used both at Durban and Johannesburg International Airports to scare birds off the airfield, which can prove both dangerous and damaging to the aircraft. This is their power to sense movement over wide flat distances.

We can help you!

‘Pups in Prison’ is a programme set up and implemented by Assistance Dogs Australia and the model is now being used in several Corrective Centres and Juvenile Corrective Centres across Australia. The aim of the programme is to reduce re-offending behaviour by giving offenders skills to assist in their own rehabilitation.

The other qualities…

A natural yet unidentifiable instinct of our four-legged friends is that they can guide themselves to their home miles away, understand the world around them and even save us from everyday perils. They know when you are coming home, sometimes even before you do. Their intelligence, strength and endurance are beyond our imagination. Tommy is a guide dog who is an expert at navigating New York’s subway and bus systems.

Not only this, dogs can differentiate a happy human from an angry or sad one and a laugh from a cry. They can even mimic human behaviour! Stray dogs in Moscow catch the underground in the city in the morning and after a hard day scavenging return in the evening, getting off at the right stop. They are truly remarkable friends we can have- for our life!

(Watch Eukanuba Extraordinary Dogs on Sundays at 12 pm on National Geographic Channel.)

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