Dogs are cute. And loyal. And at times, they’re laugh-out-loud funny. But dogs are also courageous, brave, and remarkably heroic. Just take a look at these 8 heroic dogs from history:
Rags was a beloved WWI soldier, delivering notes across the dangerous battlefield to provide early warning of incoming shells. Rags helped save countless lives, and subsequently, helped win the war.
When the World Trade Center was hit on 9/11, most people ran away from the destruction. But Appollo ran towards it, as a crucial part of the search and rescue team. He was awarded a Dickin Medal for his bravery.
3. Swansea Jack
In the early 1930s, this black retriever was known by his community in Swansea, Wales, for saving not one, not two, but 27 drowning people. He was awarded “Bravest Dog of the Year,” along with a shiny, silver collar. This dog sure proved that pups are more than just pets.
In the early 2000s, Lex worked with the US Marine Corps to help detect explosives on the battlefield. While on deployment in Iraq, he was hit and injured in an attack. Despite his own injuries, he dragged out his counterpup, Lee, who unfortunately suffered fatal wounds. For his heroic work, Lex received an honorary purple heart.
5. Bud Nelson
The first dog to ride across America in a car, Bud has become an iconic image in American culture. Today, driving across the country is a relatively simple endeavor. But in the early 1900s, with an inexperienced driver and a two-cylinder car primarily used for recreation, the journey was risky, to say the least.
The year was 1966. It was the World Cup finals in London, England, and tragedy had struck: somebody stole the World Cup trophy. Fortunately, an intelligent and heroic dog named Pickles came across the stolen Cup on the street, becoming the true MVP of the World Cup. No, we did not make this up.
In 1925, an Alaskan sled dog named Balto delivered life-saving medicine through a harsh snowstorm from Anchorage to Nome. Despite the poor visibility, Balto led his team to Nome, ultimately earning him a statue in New York’s Central Park, and inspiring the 1995 film, aptly titled Balto.
Laika’s story isn’t a heartwarming one, but a heroic one nonetheless. A stray living on the streets of Moscow, Laika was selected by the Russians to become the first living creature to orbit Earth. It was a venture that not even humans were willing to take, and for good reason: Laika did not survive. She’s remembered today as a space pioneer, and a brave one at that.