Dogs are loyal, compassionate, cuddly and cute. But they can be so much more than that too. They can be lifesavers, heroes, nurturers and confidence builders. They can be smartypants and bully-busters, not to mention the world's best mothers. These 10 amazing dog stories will blow your mind and melt your heart all at once. And let me warn you, if you don't already have a dog, these stories will make you want to adopt one asap. (Full disclosure, I've already started researching shelters in my area.)
One of my all-time favorite dog stories is of Bretagne, the 9/11 "hero dog," who was part of the search and rescue mission after the September 11th attacks, according to The Atlantic. The brave Bretagne "was among the dogs rushed to New York from across the country to help in the rescue and recovery," joining the many selfless heroes in the aftermath of 9/11.
"When our task force arrived at Ground Zero, I just couldn't believe the magnitude of it. And then I looked down to [Bretagne] and she seemed stoic and ready to work," said Denise Corliss, Bretagne's owner, in a Youtube video from Barkpost.
Now that's pretty inspiring stuff. Seems like dogs can do just about anything, whether it's sensing pregnancy in their owner or somehow knowing something is wrong, even when humans are unaware. Here are 10 more incredible tales of those with tails!
1. Dalmatian Dog Adopts Spotted Lamb
Back in 2012, a doting Dalmatian was seen taking care of a spotted newborn, but the astonishing thing was that it was actually a spotted lamb. The abandoned, crossbred lamb was taken in by a female Dalmatian with no pups of her own, according to Australian news website PM.
"And now the mother... is actually cleaning it and licking it and mothering it and it tries to mother up to her udder but it gets a bottle instead," explained PM.
It sounds like these two were made for each other.
2. Schnauzer Finds Her Sick Owner
I love stories of dogs traveling long distances to be reunited with their owners, but this one is extra sweet, because it involves a very little dog on a mission to see her ailing human.
A miniature Schnauzer named Sissy escaped the Franck family's home, traveled 20 blocks, and found the hospital where his owner, Nancy, was being treated, according to Dogster.
Now those are some tracking skills!
3. Dog Detects Skin Cancer
Dogs seem to have a sixth sense, but it turns out they might also have a "sick sense." Lauren Gauthier rescued a one-eyed dog, named Victoria, but in the end, it was Victoria who saved Lauren, according to Inside Edition.
"She’d been literally putting her nose onto my nose where the cancer was," Gauthier said in an interview with Inside Edition. "My dog’s persistence in smelling that area made me wonder if there was something suspicious about it."
Gauthier listened to Victoria and saw her doctor about the spot, then had surgery to remove the cancer.
It turns out the dog sense that saved Gauthier isn't just a one-off occurrence. "Dogs' powerful noses have 300 million sensors, compared with a human's measly 5 million," reported CNN.
"In addition, dogs have a second smelling device in the backs of their noses that we don't have, called Jacobson's organ. That double smelling system allows trained dogs to detect cancer's unique odors, called volatile organic compounds."
4. Stray Dog Saves Newborn
This story, about a stray dog and an abandoned newborn baby in Kenya, is nothing short of miraculous.
A stray dog saved the life of a newborn baby after discovering the abandoned child in a forest, reportedly by carrying it "across a busy road and through some barbed wire to her litter of puppies," NBC News reported.
The baby, appropriately named Angel by her health workers, responded well to treatment and was stable, according to the same NBC News article.
5. Dog Knows 1,000+ Words
I knew dogs were intelligent, but I had no idea they could be this smart. John Pilley, a retired psychology professor, taught his border collie Chaser more than 1,000 words, which is the "the largest known vocabulary of any animal except humans," according to USA Today.
In addition to proper nouns, Chaser has learned verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and now even three-part comments, like "Take ball to Frisbee," reported USA Today.
Instead of asking, "Are you smarter than a 5th grader," you might need to start asking, "Are you smarter than a border collie?"
6. Rottweiler Guards Baby All Night
This particular story involves one incredibly responsible dog, and one not-so-responsible woman. A young mother in Russia took her three-month-old baby and her Rottweiler, Lada, to a park, but ended up having a few too many drinks with her friends, and went home and to bed without the baby, according to the Russian news website RT.
"Only in the morning did the woman realize she had brought home neither the baby nor the dog," reported RT.
Fortunately, the Rottweiler had stayed with the baby overnight, and both were found safe.
7. Dog Saves Owner From Rattlesnake
Dogs might be known as "man's best friend," but in the case of Paula Godwin, you might want to add "bodyguard" to the list. Godwin's golden retriever, Todd, jumped in front of a rattlesnake who was ready to bite her, according to People.
“It bit Todd quickly then started rattling,” she said in an interview with People, adding that Todd received anti-venom treatment shortly thereafter.
A look at Todd after his tango with the rattlesnake from Godwin's Facebook account shows the poor guy was definitely banged up, but according to People, he's recovering well from the aftermath.
8. NYC Dog Who Wants To Hug Everyone
If anyone thinks New Yorkers aren't welcoming, they need only meet Louboutina, or Loubie, to change their minds.
"It’s not unusual to find Loubie standing upright on the streets of New York sporting a bright red walking harness, eager to embrace anyone who walks by," explained Rover.
Loubie, known as "the hugging dog," even has her own catchphrase: "Spreading love and cuteness in the big 🍎 and the World," according to her own Instagram account (which has more than 200,000 followers).
"One of her favorite things to do is stand at the corner of 5th and 17th—her 'stage,' as Cesar calls it—and let the people come to her," explained Cesar, her owner, in an interview with Rover.
9. Dog Helps Boy Conquer Bullies
Friends can come in all shapes and sizes, and in the case of this heartwarming story, they can even have three legs.
As a result of being bullied at his middle school, a boy named Carson was struggling with depression... until he found comfort in the form of an unlikely friend: a three-legged rescue puppy his family adopted, according to I Heart Dogs.
"When school started again this fall, Carson’s depression and anxiety melted away. He walks the halls with newfound confidence, and his family is thrilled to see the dramatic improvement in Carson’s mental health," explained I Heart Dogs.
10. Dog Saves Dog From Drowning
Proof that dogs have each other's back: As told by The Washington Post, when a dog named Smokey fell in a pool, it was his dog pal, Remus, who came to his rescue. Smokey's owners were dog-watching Remus while his owner was away on business, and Remus was the only other creature around to see Smokey struggling to keep his head above water. As surveillance video showed, that's when Remus jumped in the water to help push his buddy out.
Smokey's owners called Remus a "hero" (and promptly purchased a life jacket for Smokey!).