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Dogs are so much more than man's best friend. They are family, and when push comes to shove, dogs often respond heroically to rescue their beloved family members. Some dogs fight back when their family is threatened by dangerous wildlife. Others sense the signs of a major medical event, such as a seizure, well before their humans experience symptoms. And other pups are known to have rescued their loved ones from burning buildings. So many dogs have behaved heroically. Those included in this quick rundown are just a small sampling.
On a winter day in 2010, 11-year-old Austin Forman of Boston Bar, British Columbia was gathering firewood in his backyard. He was accompanied by Angel, who had stuck closely to the boy's side. Dogs can often sense danger well before humans can, and Angel knew there was a wild animal nearby. When a cougar charged out of the woods at the child, Angel literally leapt into action. She jumped over a lawn mower to intercept the cougar and save her human.
Angel kept the cougar busy while Austin ran into the house for help. When the RCMP arrived on the scene just minutes later, an officer shot the cougar. Austin was completely unharmed. Angel suffered bite wounds but survived the attack. Austin had high praise for Angel, telling CBC News, "She was my best friend, but now she's more than a best friend--she's like my guardian now."
Doberman pinschers are powerful, muscular dogs who are fiercely loyal and protective of their families. Khan, a shelter pup, exhibited those qualities perfectly. He was rescued from a shelter in 2007. His new family, who lives in Atherton, Australia, set Khan and 17-month-old Charlotte down to play in the garden one day. The play date was progressing well until Catherine, Charlotte's mother, looked up to see Khan grab Charlotte by the diaper and fling her away.
Horrified, Catherine began to run to her daughter. But then, she noticed a large king brown snake--one of the most venomous snakes in Australia--bite the dog. Heroic Khan put himself in harm's way to rescue his young playmate. Charlotte was unharmed, and Khan was saved by a timely dose of anti-venom.
The family is forever grateful to Khan for saving the life of their daughter. "If Khan wants a gold bowl, Khan gets it. We owe him for the rest of his life," Catherine told reporters.
When a seizure is occurring, one of the greatest concerns is that the person will fall down and suffer injuries, or get into some other harmful accident. Thanks to sweet, lovable Poppy, one Northern Ireland resident no longer has to worry about that. Shannon Locke has been suffering from seizures since she was 17. One day, she realized that Poppy was in the habit of exhibiting distress about 15 minutes before a seizure would happen.
This early warning system gives Locke enough time to get to a safe place before the seizure happens. During the seizure, Poppy even tries to help by clearing away excess saliva from Locke's airway. Locke also credits Poppy for helping her come out of the last stage of the seizure.
Capone, the Mutt Who Saved 10 Lives
There are countless stories of dogs who have alerted their families to house fires, like Capone, a miniature pinscher, Chihuahua, and whippet mix. Angela and Isaac Fullmer of Des Moines, Iowa had rescued Capone after finding him wandering dangerously close to a highway. Late one night, while Isaac was out of town driving a big rig and Angela was trying to get some rest, Capone began barking nonstop from downstairs.
When Capone refused to stop barking, Angela went down to the kitchen to see what was wrong. She found an electrical fire. Angela immediately got her nine kids out of the house and called 911, by which time, the kitchen was fully engulfed in flames. Capone saved himself, walking out once he knew his family was safe. The house had a smoke alarm, but Capone's early warning system gave the family the extra time they needed to get out safely. Now, the family has a new home with a fenced-in yard for Capone to romp around in.
Do you personally know a dog who has saved someone's life, perhaps your own? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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