25 Heroic Dogs And How They Saved People

October 23, 2019


Canines are amazing. They are goofy and fun and smart and dedicated. Most of the time, they are just fun to be around, but when the situation calls for it, some dogs go above and beyond the call of duty.

If you’re skeptical about the courage of dogs and their determination to save loved ones in danger, get ready to change your mind.

These are the stories of dogs which faced snakes, snow storms, bullets and car accidents, all in order to save another human’s life.

These selfless canines put themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of humans. Some are big, some are small, but all are man’s best friend.

1. Brutis

Golden retrievers are well-known for their kind and friendly behavior, but 7-year-old Brutis went beyond that. Back in 2004, this dog actually snatched a coral snake as it was making its way to a young child.

Although he suffered a near-deadly bite in the process, heroic Brutis managed to save the child. After the incident he was taken to Los Angeles to receive the National Hero Dog Award.

Said the committee who awarded the medal, “when we give an award like this, we’re looking for something extra, something that would make people wonder why a dog would do what he did.”

2. Zoey


We all know how small dogs, despite their size, can sometimes have feisty attitude, and Zoey is proof of why that is good.

This five pound Chihuahua from Colorado made headlines in 2007 for rescuing a one-year-old child from a dangerous rattlesnake.

When the snake got too close for comfort, Zoey vigorously jumped in its way.

Strangely enough, not only did Zoey survive the encounter, but after a short battle, the tiny Chihuahua came out victorious and the child was safe.

While Zoey did get a small wound from a snake bite above the eye, she eventually recuperated and the snake was dealt with by Zoey’s owner.

3. Katrina


You know how dogs can sense incoming danger? In this case, not only did Katrina warn everyone about the flood that was coming, but she stuck around in case anyone needed help!

Although hurricane Katrina was a miserable event for everyone in the southern U.S., this heroic dog gave the hurricane victims something to smile about in their days of misery.

In this case, Katrina – an ironically named black Labrador – saved a drowning man before rising flood waters claimed his life. Despite her heroism in the fateful event, she was later rescued herself by rescue teams.

Sometime after the dust has settled, Katrina was honored at that year’s Genesis Award with a standing ovation. Good girl!

4. Shana


When Eve and Norman Fertig rescued a sick, two-week-old half wolf, half German shepherd puppy from a breeder almost seven years ago, they’d never dreamed that the animal one day would save their lives.

“God is watching; he’s watching all the time,” Eve Fertig told FOXNews from her home at the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y.

When the elderly couple went out to help two injured birds, they got caught in a snow storm. Lucky for them, they had Shana.

The 160-pound dog that habitually follows her owners around eventually found the Fertigs and began digging a path in the snow with her teeth and claws underneath the fallen trees, similar to a mineshaft, and barking as if to tell them to follow.

She would pull the couple back to the safety of their home, and later received the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment’s Hero’s Award for bravery — an award traditionally given to humans.

5. Maya


Maya was honored as a hero for ignoring real and violent danger to protect her owner Angela Marcelino, who had adopted Maya from a shelter when the dog was only 3 months old.

Good call to adopt from a shelter, because we doubt any designer dog from a high priced breeder or pet store would have so valiantly risked their life to successfully defend their guardian like Maya the rescued pit bull did.

Maya protected Angela from a violent attacker, saving Angela’s life, and later when DNA tests were done on a drop of blood left above Maya’s right eye, police were able to identify and arrest Angela’s assailant. Way to go Maya!

6. Moti


Moti is a 5-year-old German shepherd who literally took a bullet for his family’s safety. Now that’s some true dedication!

In 2007 a masked intruder tried to break into the Patel household.

It didn’t take even a second for Moti to jump up and start barking, and he barked until he got the gunman’s attention. They were looking at each other for a while, but it couldn’t last forever.

Faced with the angry pooch, the gunman shot Moti and ran, without hurting any of the Patel’s. Luckily, Moti made a full recovery. To this day the Patel’s are able to be safe knowing that Moti is always with them!

7. Honey


Being the 2006 Dog of the Year, you can be certain what Honey did isn’t to be ignored. She earned this by saving her owner from a violent car accident.

After she and Michael Bosch ended up in their SUV, rolled over and stuck upside down in a deep ravine, Bosch was trapped and was depending entirely on Honey to save his life.

With all the strength he could muster, he managed to release the dog and hope that she would somehow find help.

Luckily for him, the 5-month-old English cocker spaniel got the attention of a man about a half-mile away from the accident, and brought him to the flipped SUV. Rescuers said that had it not been for Honey, Bosch probably would not have made it.

8. Napoleon


If you think cats and dogs are enemies in every situation, this English Bulldog is here to prove you wrong.

Napoleon is a well-behaved two-year old white Bulldog, who lives with his family in Michigan.

Apparently he raced out across the road the other day and into a nearby lake, then came out of the water dragging something in his mouth.

It appeared to be a burlap bag, which he brought back to his person. The meowing sounds coming from the bag alerted Napoleon’s mom to the kittens that were inside – six in all. Sadly, two of the kittens didn’t make it, but the other four were cared for until they could be put up for adoption.

Napoleon received a hero’s welcome back at the local adoption center.

9. Hero


A dog called Hero lived up to his name by saving his master’s life.

This four-year-old Golden Retriever was honored at the All-Star Animal Awards in London for his swift and clever reactions when his master, wheelchair-bound Gareth Jones got stuck in a muddy field, isolated and unable to move.

The specially trained dog scooped the outstanding achievement for his life-saving act. “I was very, very proud of Hero and I must admit I got quite emotional,” said 36-yeard-old former soldier Mr. Jones, who has been paralyzed since a car accident in 1995.

“When I got stuck in the mud he realized I was in trouble, and started pulling the rope I threw to him. He didn’t let go until I was clear – he knew exactly what he was doing.”

10. Eve


Kathie Vaughan was driving a used truck she had just purchased when suddenly it began to fishtail.

Once she brought the truck to a stop, she thought everything was fine, but she was mistaken. The cabin of the truck was beginning to fill with thick smoke.

Vaughan is a paraplegic and is paralyzed from the waist down by Multiple Sclerosis.

Knowing that her truck might explode at any moment, Vaughan tried to push her Rottweiler Eve out of the cabin along with her wheelchair, but the black smoke prevented her from finding the wheels to her chair.

Vaughan began to panic, but suddenly realized that the Rottie had grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the truck. Eve then dragged her owner by the ankle ten feet to safety. A few seconds later, the truck burst into flames.

Realizing that the truck could explode, Vaughan knew that she had to get further away. Eve then got close to her owner, offering her collar for support and as the injured woman held on, she was dragged forty feet to safety.

For her heroic act, Eve was awarded the prestigious American Humane Society’s William O. Stillman Award for bravery.

11. Ginny


Many of you may be familiar with Ginny, the Schnauzer/Siberian husky mix whose life-saving skills were legendary.

When she was adopted from a shelter, she paid the good deed forward by seeking out and saving sick and injured feral cats.

She saved upwards of 900 lives before she died at age 17 in 2005.

Any person who has ever tried to rescue a feral or timid animal knows how difficult a task it is. For a dog, who may be regarded as a predator or adversary to wild cats, to gain their trust is nothing short of phenomenal.

In 1998, she was named Cat of the Year by the Westchester Feline Club in homage to her lifelong heroism.

12. Trakr


Trained as a police dog in Halifax, Nova Scotia — where he worked for six years, helping to find more than $1 million in contraband — Trakr had retired in May 2001 before he and his trainer, Canadian police officer James Symington, drove 15 hours to help recovery efforts in New York City following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Trakr was credited with locating the last survivor found beneath the rubble. Two days after arriving and searching for survivors the entire time, Trakr collapsed from smoke inhalation, exhaustion and burns and was treated for his injuries before returning to Canada.

Later in life Trakr suffered from a degenerative neurological disorder that experts say could have been caused by his work at Ground Zero. Before Trakr died in April 2009, his DNA was entered into a cloning contest by Symington and was later chosen for use. In June of that year, five cloned Trakrs were born.

13. Shelby


After a long day of baking Christmas cookies, John and Janet Walderbach were awakened by the cries of their friends’ two children, who were overnight guests.

They and the children awoke with terrible headaches and upset stomachs.

As Janet was rocking the younger child to sleep, she passed out. Shelby revived her by nudging her until she regained consciousness.

She continued to act anxious and would not leave their sides, as they tried to determine what was making them and the children feel so sick.

Thinking she might need a trip outdoors, John put her outside; but that only made her act more anxious as she began to bark, whine and scratch at the door. She did not rest until John, Janet and the children were safely outside the home.

Luckily, at the hospital, all four people were successfully treated in hyperbolic chambers, which eliminated the carbon monoxide in their bodies, preventing any severe damage.

Shelby was named the Skippy Dog Hero of the Year. As the winner, she received a $500 award, a year’s supply of dog food and an engraved Skippy Dog Hero food bowl.

14. Rocky


A Lakewood, Colorado police dog, Rocky made headlines in 2002 for chasing down a burglar, taking a bullet in the process and ultimately helping to capture the 20 year old thug.

His dogged persistence may have saved the shooter’s life because Rocky pinned him on the ground before officers could shoot back.

According to Darren Mauer, the dog’s officer/partner, the bullet to Rocky’s paw never slowed him down. “He was the same dog after as he was before.”

Rocky served the Lakewood Police Department six years until he retired with fanfare on Jan. 1, 2007. Unfortunately, in 2008, he passed away after a battle with cancer.

15. Blue


It wasn’t bad enough that 85-year-old Ruth Gay broke her nose and dislocated her shoulder when she fell in her Fort Myers, Florida, back yard.

Then she could only lie there helplessly while she heard what she was sure was her brave little dog Blue being devoured by an alligator.

She shouldn’t have given up faith in the 35-pound Australian blue heeler. Blue was bloodied in the encounter, but fought off an alligator who apparently came into Gay’s yard to investigate the fallen woman.

“I knew that alligator had been hanging around all day and I was afraid it got him,” Gay said. “I just figured it had.”

“There were a lot of little puncture wounds, bite wounds,” Dr. Terry Terlep, whose colleague treated the injured animal, told The Associated Press. He said Blue suffered a stomach wound that had to be stapled. His other injuries were cleaned, and he was given antibiotics and painkillers.

“He’s a little dog and fast like lightning,” Terlep said. “He was trying to fend off this animal, trying to get it to go away. And he’s so fast he could get out of the way.”

16. Patty


Golden retrievers are truly wonderful dogs, and here is a story involving yet another one of their kind.

Patty is a yellow lab retriever who saved her owner from certain drowning while on a winter duck hunting excursion.

After Ray Fogg’s boat capsized and dumped the two into ice-cold North Atlantic waters, Patty offered Ray to grab hold of her tail while she vigorously doggy-paddled against the overwhelming current.

Fortunately, they made it all the way to the nearest land, where they were rescued by game wardens later on that evening.

So next time you are thinking of going swimming in frozen waters, make sure you bring a golden retriever with you!

17. Neo


This 11-month-old Siberian husky earned his hero stripes by getting human help for his imperiled owner, Marci Snead.

While the puppy’s owner, Marci Snead – a diabetic with fibromyalsia and rheumatoid arthritis – was out walking her beloved puppy, she fell into an unexpected hypoglycemic shock and fell to the ground.

Neo immediately sprang into action. Unable to move her legs, Snead’s companion left her side only long enough to get the attention of other humans. He ran into a nearby building and alerted several Good Samaritans, who followed Neo back to Snead.

Within moments, the paramedics were called and Sneal fully recovered.

18. Kankuntu


Kankuntu’s story is one unlike any of these other pooch heroes. You think you’ve heard it all until you hear his heroic tale, a dog saving his owner from pirates.

Peter and Betty Lee, a couple from the UK, were sailing their yacht off the coast of Venezuela when a fishing boat began rapidly approaching them at a high speed.

The men on the boat fired a gun at the couple, then jumped aboard and moved in to attempt an attack.

When one pirate raised his gun and aimed it at Peter, Kankuntu leapt into action. He attacked the lead pirate and his crew, and didn’t give up until he was shot and stabbed.

The pirates abandoned the ship, and poor Kankuntu remarkably survived his injuries. Even though it took a few days to get him back to shore for help, Kankuntu was strong for his humans. He not only saved their life, but held onto his own!

19. Junior


Despite being small in size, his heroic dog has a giant heart.

Junior, a 14-month-old shi tzu mix, started barking and wouldn’t stop when flames erupted in the home where his owner, Madelous Davilmar and six others live.

The smoke detectors were going off, but they didn’t wake up Davilmar. “Junior’s a quiet dog and he started making a lot of noise,” Davilmar said. The barking woke him up. And he found the house filled with smoke.

Davilmar rushed through the house, trying to awaken his relatives, some of whom were visiting from Orlando. Everyone had made it out safely.

Investigators have deemed the fire suspicious. Davilmar said he’s just thankful everyone is alive, thanks to Junior. “He’s a hero,” Davilmar said.

20. Belle


A 17-pound beagle named Belle is more than man’s best friend. She’s a lifesaver.

Belle was in Washington, D.C., on Monday to receive an award for biting onto owner Kevin Weaver’s cell phone to call 911 after the diabetic man had a seizure and collapsed.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I’d be dead if I didn’t have Belle,” said Weaver, 34, whose blood sugar had dropped dangerously low. Belle had been trained to summon help in just those circumstances. She had been taught to bite down on the number 9 on his cell phone contacting 911.

Belle was the first canine recipient to win the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, given to someone who used a cell phone to save a life, prevent a crime or help in an emergency.

21. Toby


Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman’s chest.

The dog’s owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life.

Debbie Parkhurst, 45, of Calvert was eating an apple at her home Friday when a piece lodged in her throat.

She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but it didn’t work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved.

“The next think I know, Toby’s up on his hind feet and he’s got his front paws on my shoulders,” she recalled. “He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest.”

That’s when the apple dislodged and Toby started licking her face to keep her from passing out, she said.

22. Nyla


Nyla’s story is another example in which a dog used his keen sense of incoming danger to save the life of his human.

When Sheila, the owner of Nyla, found herself surrounded by flames and smoke, unable to see in front of her, Nyla audaciously took her toward a nearby door.

Sheila couldn’t see through the thick smoke to find her way – but Nyla could, as she herded her toward the door. Whenever Sheila lost track of Nyla, the dog simply barked.

While her home and belongings were destroyed, Sheila was guided to safety, noting that “Nyla could have left anytime. Instead, she chose to stay and risk her own life and face death to save me.”

23. Roselle


On that fateful Tuesday, sales director Michael Hingson, blind since birth, arrived for work at the World Trade Center’s Tower One.

Hingson’s guide dog, Roselle, settled into her usual post beneath the desk. At 8:45 a.m. a hijacked jetliner crashed into the tower, 18 floors above Hingson.

After calling his wife, Karen, and making sure his staff was evacuated, Hingson and his unflappable Lab began a hellish descent of 78 floors.

Spiraling down the emergency stairs, working methodically through smoke, debris, and fleeing office workers, they made it to the lobby. By the time they reached the sidewalk, Tower Two had been struck and was collapsing.

“It sounded like a metal and concrete waterfall,” Hingson said. They ran for shelter down a subway entrance. They emerged from underground as Tower One fell, raining down ash and debris. Roselle led Hingson some 40 blocks to a friend’s apartment and safety.

In the weeks following, Hingson said, “I was taking calls from Larry King, from Regis and Kelly, Bryant Gumbel. They were looking for something positive that came out of the tragedy.”

24. Nellie


Nellie, a four-year-old black Labrador, was on holiday with her severely deaf owner Gill Houghton when a man entered the room in the bed and breakfast hotel where they were staying.

Mrs. Houghton, 48, was sleeping along with her children Ellie, five, and Jake, 13, when the thief snuck into their room.

She said: “Nellie woke me in the middle of the night and when I told her to get off the bed, because I thought she had made a mistake, she jumped up again then dropped to the floor – the danger sound alert.”

As Mrs. Houghton sat up, she first saw a man standing in the doorway, looking at them, and then realized that Nellie had moved to sit in front of her and the children, looking at the intruder. She told him to leave several times, and eventually he did.

Thanks to her actions on the trip to Stafford, Nellie was named April’s dog of the month by the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

25. Kaze


Search and rescue might be difficult for humans, but a brave dog such as Kaze does it with ease.

Kaze’s first assignment was to find a woman reported missing a few days earlier by her family, and for doing so, he earned top honors from the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department.

Kaze led the rescuers to a bridge near the San Pablo Dam, just north of Orinda, where he found the missing woman who was immediately rushed to the hospital where she remained in a coma for almost a week.

Authorities reported she would have died within the hour had she not been found. She has since recovered and is back at home with her family.

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Rick N
Rick N
5 years ago

you forgot marutaro shiba inu

5 years ago
Reply to  Rick N

We have them in Japan! They’re gorgeous!