Quite often we see dogs rescuing people in heart-warming family films. But it would be more captivating and affectionate to capture how our furry companions save people in real life! Here are some true accounts of dogs saving their pet parents and others in India and around the globe.
Dogs have been known for developing a deep bond with their pet parents or people around them. When their human companions are in stark danger, they would always come forward to lend a helping hand or a helping paw, more precisely. Detective dog Zanjeer is an appropriate example. He had served as detection dog in Mumbai Police and helped in unearthing 11 military bombs, 57 county-made bombs, 600 detonators and 175 petrol bombs during the 1993 Mumbai attacks.
Similar heroic acts from three other furry detectors from Mumbai Police, namely, Prince, Max and Lyka played instrumental roles in detection of explosives during the 26/11 terrorist attacks. Prince sniffed the explosives outside Trident and Lyka located a haversack containing a bomb on the rear side of The Taj. A week later, when railway authorities returned luggage to the blast victims, Prince detected a bomb concealed in a bag.
A recent heroic story of a furry saviour surfaced from Jammu in which a 10-year-old German Shepherd named Tasha saved her family from a large venom snake in July 2014. Every member of the family was asleep when Tasha detected the presence of the snake. While caretaker Ram Babu of the family was running to and fro to find a stick, Tasha instantly encountered the snake during which she got a severe bite below her mouth, but never gave up the fight till the snake died in the tussle.
Posted to 14 Army Dog Unit under Delta Force, Rex the saviour Golden Labrador in 1993 tracked down an injured militant for more than three kilometres in Badrot area of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The furry hero recovered an AK 56 rifle and a haversack containing 92 live rounds. For his bravery act, Rex was awarded General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command’s Commendation Card in 1999.
Yet another heroic tale of a furry brave heart around J&K is about Mini, a black Labrador Retriever member of the explosive wing of 20 Army Dog Unit (Indian Army), who sniffed out two IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Poonch during a counter terrorism operation in 2009. In recognition of her courageous act, Mini was honoured with the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card and a bravery accolade during the Independence Day Celebrations in 2010.
Dog rescuers played big roles during the post disaster hours of the fateful 9/11 attacks. Among the furry saviours in the rescue mission was Trakr who along with police officer James Symington dug through 30 feet of unstable debris at the wrecked World Trade Centre ‘Zero Ground’ site. They located the last human survivor of the disastrous attack. Trakr was later applauded for the brave commitment and he has been considered for serving in other police rescue forces.
Another survivor Michael Hingson found himself trapped on the 78th floor of the twin tower. The one who saved him was none other than Roselle, his yellow Labrador. How? When the building started to collapse, the air inside the building was filled with chocking smoke. Sensing the dangerous situation, Roselle led Michael towards a staircase; both panting and thirsty, but somehow managed to reach a safety spot just moments before the collapse of the Tower 1.
It’s not only in the disaster sites our furry saviours save human lives. They can sense ill heath or diseases of their pet parents or human friends. Here the story in this context is about Rex the intelligent dog who knocked the doors of neighbours when his 68-year-old single pet parent at Zagreb in Croatia fell into an insulin coma. The neighbours called the police and saved the man.
At Kellyville in Australia, a Saluki named Kaspar used to sniff and nuzzle all the time under her pet parent Paula Bockman-Chato. When the lady went for a medical check up, it was revealed that a lymph node cancer was formed on the spot where Kaspar often kept attentive. Another genius in the similar act is McBaine at Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia. He is highly-trained cancer detection dog who can easily smell blood samples with cancerous tissue.
Belle, a Beagle, in Orlando did a brave and intelligent job. She bit ‘911’ into her pet parent Kevin Weaver’s mobile phone after the diabetic man collapsed from a seizure. The proud pet parent finally remarked that if he didn’t have Belle he’d be just dead. Belle became the first canine to win VITA’s Wireless Samaritan Award at Washington DC. What was also evident as a good deed is that the dog was trained to bite down the phone keypad in case of emergency.
Four-year-old boy Andrie Pavlov was feeding ducks near his home at Krasnoyarsk in Russia. He accidentally fell into the ice-cold water of the pond. But a stray dog saved him! The name of the stray was Naida, truly a saviour, who braked alerting a nearby woman about the drowning boy. The prize of the heroic act was included a home for Naida as a family immediately adopted her.
On the other side of the globe in New Orleans, where hurricane is a measurable occurrence for everyone down south, Katrina is an ironically named black Labrador who saved a drowning man before high flood water claimed his life. The dog who was later rescued herself by life-saving squad had been honoured at The Genesis Awards with a standing ovation.
In the recent past, a Pit Bull named Ace in Indianapolis saved a 13-year-old deaf boy from fire mishap. Nick Lam was napping without his hearing aid when the fire broke out inside his house. Ace licked the sleeping boy’s face until he woke up. Covering his mouth and nose with his T-shirt, Nick along with the furry saviour fled from the danger on time.
Another furry saviour being honoured with bravery award was Patty, a yellow Labrador, who saved her pet parent drowning during a duck hunting excursion. When the boat of Ray Fogg was capsized, dumped him and his dog Patty into the frosty North Atlantic waters, the sensible furry rescuer allowed his pet parent hold his tail and dragged the man against the powerful current of the stream all the way towards a nearest dry land.
Stories of heroic furry saviours will be told never ending. Look out for more to be unfolded in the upcoming issues.
(With inputs from Kritika Manchanda).