Heroic Dogs – 5 Stories of Dogs Who Saved People

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Hero Dogs: Dogs are probably one of the few animals on the planet that consistently go out of their way to save humans – even putting themselves in harm’s way to save a beloved.

Here are some stories of dogs being heroes that are sure to warm even the coldest of hearts:

    1. Shana, a 160 lbs half wolf dog/half German Shepherd Dog, saved his elderly humans during a treacherous snow storm in 2006. Shana found Norman and Eve, both 81 years old, huddled in a narrow alley between a hospital building and aviary – they couldn’t climb over fallen trees without injuring themselves and were essentially snowed in by the massive storm that hit New York that day. Their dog had looked for and eventually found them and began digging a path in the snow, underneath the fallen trees, with her teeth and claws. She tunneled all the way to their front porch from the alley (20 feet) for several hours and went back to compel her owners to go through the tunnel, barking and grabbing their clothes (Shana “grabbed Eve’s jacket and guided the 86 pound woman onto her back.”), pulling them under the trees and through an opening in a fence to their house. “It was the most heroic thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Eve said. Once in the house, since there was no heat or electricity and the temperatures had dropped significantly, the dog laid on top of them to act as a warm blanket and stayed that way, keeping them alive, till the fireman found them. Shana received the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment’s Hero’s Award for bravery — an award traditionally given to humans.
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    2. Hero, a Golden Retriever, rescued his owner Gareth Jones who lives in the United Kingdom. Gareth, a former soldier, had been disabled due to a car accident. He met Hero after five years of paralysis, at a small charity that trained dogs to help severely disabled people. From then on, Hero was by his side like a shadow, usually resting beside his owner, sometimes with his chin on his. The dog understood that his owner needed someone to just ‘be there’ for him, more than anything else. But hero has no training in towing or hauling. So it was quite unexpected when Hero knew exactly what needed to be done to rescue Gareth one day – Gareth was crossing a field that turned out to be a lot more muddy than his wheelchair could cope with. He sank and was stuck in an isolated spot, with a storm brewing, no cell phone and nobody around to help. Nobody, that is, other than Hero. “I looked at Hero, who was feeling pleased with himself for carrying a ball-on-a-rope. He offered it to me, and I realized he might be able to pull me out of the field. I hooked the handle of the ball-on-a-rope to my wheelchair and asked him to pull. At first he pulled gently, as he does due to my disability, but when he realized what was required, he pulled forcefully until I had traction closer to the road.” Hero pulled the rope with all his might, holding it between his teeth, and did not let go until he had pulled Gareth and his wheelchair onto firmer ground. “If Hero hadn’t pulled me out of that field, I wouldn’t be here today. I owe my life to him.” Gareth firmly believes that he knew what he was doing. Hero was given an All Star Animal Award in London, UK.
    3. Eve, a Rotweiller, saved her owner Kathie Vaughan, a paralyzed paraplegic, in 1991 by pulling her from a burning truck. Kathie, who had purchased the truck that morning, was driving it back to her house when it fishtailed and then the cabin started filling with noxious fumes and black smoke. Since she could not simply jump out of the truck quickly like most people would have been able to, it was extremely difficult for her get out – she managed to shove her dog and wheelchair out the door, but could not find the wheels to the chair. Close to blacking out at this point, Kathie suddenly felt Eve grab her by the ankle and drag her ten feet away from her burning, smoldering truck. After she pulled Kathie out, Eve didn’t stop there. She proceeded to drag her to a nearby ditch, far enough away (almost 40 feet) that they were able to avoid any injury from the inevitable explosion of her vehicle. Eve was awarded the Stillman Award.
    4. Buddy, a German Shepherd Dog, in 2010, led a police officer to where his owner was in danger. Ben, who was in his workshop in his house in Alaska, asked Buddy to get help when it suddenly was set on fire. An Alaskan State Trooper, Terrence Shanigan, had already been called to the area with information about the fire, but his GPS was not working well and he was unable to find the exact location of the fire. He saw Buddy running along the road, very obviously trying to catch his attention. “He wasn’t running from me, but was leading me. I just felt like I was being led… it’s just one of those things that we’re thinking on the same page for that brief moment.” the state trooper said. The dog led him straight to the fire and Terrence was able to safely get Ben out of trouble. “This is not the first time he’s saved me… he’s chased off bears for me.” his owner said. You can watch the amazing video footage caught on the policeman’s dash cam:

5. Chako, a pitbull, saved his owner from an abusive partner, in 2013. On Halloween in Richmond, Virginia, a woman was being assaulted by her abusive partner. Chako came to her aid, trying to keep his owner safe from the attacker, putting himself in harm’s way. The attacker then turned his fury towards the dog, stabbing Chako 12 times around his neck and chest. Without funds to pay for the dog’s medical treatment, a paypal fundraiser was started and over 200 individual donors and the Humane Society of the United States covered all of Chako’s bills for his care. Chako’s attacker was arrested and taken to jail. Chako eventually made a slow recovery.

Got a heroic dog? Why not nominate them for the Hero Dog Awards!

The American Humane Hero Dog Awards® are held by American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the winners for 2020 will be honored at a red carpet awards gala broadcast on Hallmark Channel. The 2 hour special is now in its 10th year and is broadcast with the network’s pet adoption advocacy initiative “Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After”. Head on over to and nominate your dog in one of 7 categories. One of the category winners will be announced as the American Hero Dog of the year, which is the most prestigious honor a canine can receive. See more information here:

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