It is often said that dogs are the only animal capable of love, usually by people who have been snubbed by an overly snooty cat. However, time and time again, dogs have shown throughout history that they can not only show love, but the cold hard determination and bravery we’d come to expect from hardened soldiers. Sit and stay to read about the top 10 most courageous and brave dogs.
Laika holds both the most inspirational and most depressing titles on this list: the first animal in orbit and also the first animal to die while doing so.
A stray originally named Kudryavka, Laika proved that living organisms were capable of surviving the launch process and subsequent orbit and weightlessness. Laika only places tenth because her bravery wasn’t her own choice; Laika’s survival was never expected and the true nature of her death was covered up for years.
Still though, Laika goes down in history as the little dog who proved man could reach beyond the stars, and her bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
9. Bobbie The Wonder Dog
A dog is, they say, a friend for life; for Bobbie this adage worked both ways. When he was left behind during his owners’ trip to Indiana, he walked all the way home. All 2800 miles of it. His owners were stunned to open their door, six months after losing their pet, to see Bobbie standing there, his feet worn to the bone. An investigation was launched that came to the conclusion that Bobbie had indeed walked the epic journey, during winter, on his own. This was further corroborated by the hundreds of letters his owners received from people across the country who’d seen Bobbie and could describe him from several features.
Bobbie died some three years later in 1927, no doubt as that’s how long it took the Grim Reaper to finally catch up.
The first K-9 unit to respond to the 9/11 attacks, Appollo was awarded a medal on behalf of all the dogs present at the disaster.
Appollo arrived on the scene 15 minutes after the attack, and was almost killed by fire and falling debris during his work. He then proceeded to, in true action hero fashion, get straight back to rescuing people the second the dust was wiped from his furry dog brow.
Appollo stands for the courage all service animals showed during this time.
7. Old Shep
Shep came to attention of train station employees when he was observed following a casket onto a train. When the train left, Shep continued to stand vigil, for another six freaking years!
Shep’s courage comes from being so devoted to his master that he constantly braved the elements, and risked nearly being hit by trains multiple times a day purely as a sign of devotion to his lost master. However playing chicken with a train is fight you’ll eventually lose, and Shep was fatally struck by one, ending his life-long vigil.
A bronze statue was quickly erected, and now stands in Shep’s place, waiting for the ghost of its master.
6. Nemo A534
Nemo was an Alsation stationed in Vietnam. As with most war dogs, Nemo had an intense and fierce bond with his handler.
When Vietcong snuck into the base Nemo and his handler were guarding, they confronted the threat head on. Airman Thoneburg was wounded during the confrontation and Nemo took a bullet to both his eye and snout. Despite this, Nemo lay across his masters body and defended it against any and all threats, including the medical team sent to rescue them.
A vet had to be called to remove Nemo from his master, who survived almost certainly due to Nemo’s selfless actions.
This Dalmatian cross goes down in history as one of the few dogs to actively stand against the Nazis. Jackie was reportedly able to raise its paw on command, parodying the infamous Nazi salute. Of course the Nazis and its higher ups, stopping just short of Hitler himself, took great offense to this mockery and were apparently outraged at Jackie.
However, no formal charges were ever brought against Jackie or the owner. Meaning that this little dog actively got away with mocking one of the deadliest and most terrifying forces in history, and never even knew about it.
Commonly known as Riot Dog around the world, Louk has been present at almost every single Greek riot in recent history. Louk is one of several dogs that has reached cult status among Greek protesters for his actions during the protests.
Riot Dog is commonly seen nipping at the heels of riot police, barking slogans in dog and sometimes peeing everywhere, just because.
Louk, or Sausage as he has become known, has become a symbol of Greek resistance and continues to be a major part of the protests in the country. It’s rumored that he is in fact Zeus, assuming animal form to oversee the protests. It’s also rumored that the people who suggested that were drunk, so, yeah.
Stationed in Hong Kong during WW2, Gander was a hulking, yet lovable ball of fur, notable for the fact he was large enough to tow a sled full of children on his own when he was home in his native Canada. However, his size caused him to accidentally injure a child and his owners, fearing the worst, gave him to the army to save his life.
While working with the military, using nothing but his own gaping maw, Gander ran off waves of Japanese attackers during the battle of Hong Kong. However, his most courageous act came when a live grenade landed next to his comrades. Without even thinking, Gander took the grenade into his mouth and charged the Japanese that threw it, killing them, saving his men and exploding his way into history books.
Barry the St. Bernard is the world’s most successful rescue dog, credited with over 40 rescues to his name. Barry, who stood smaller than the average St. Bernard of today, braved freezing weather and blizzards to selflessly rescue dozens of trapped people, entirely on his own.
It’s rumored that while attempting to save his final victim, a Swiss soldier, he was stabbed when he was mistaken for a wolf. However this was revealed to be untrue, as you can’t kill the very spirit of courage, and Barry in fact died years later, peacefully.
In his honor, one dog in the rescue service he left behind is always named Barry and his successors can always be tracked due to the trails they leave in the snow from their overly developed dog gonads.
Chips proves that courage knows no limit; listed as merely “equipment,” Chips single-handedly saved the lives of soldiers he was serving with on several occasions.
His most famous event was breaking free from his handler while his platoon came under fire from a pill box. Chips launched himself at the attackers, who were still firing machine-guns at the time, attacking everyone inside until they surrendered to him.
Chips continued to be a general badass for years, before being retired and returning home. However Chips, despite showing bravery beyond that of even the most hardened soldier, was stripped of all rank and his medals, as superior officers didn’t recognize that a dog deserved the same treatment as soldiers.
A debate that continues to this day.