It is said that dogs are man’s best friend. Some canines go above and beyond simple devotion to become true blue heroes in their own right.
Whenever you accidentally get into a rough spot, it is nice to be reassured that there is at least one other species ready to pull you out of trouble.
There have been numerous cases when dogs have laid down their lives to protect their loved ones from harm. These are five such stories:
Heroic sacrifice 1
In a heart-breaking story from Kazakhstan, a dog was hit by a train moments after pulling its suicidal and drunk owner safely off the tracks.
The incident took place in the city of Karaganda in 2012 when the owner, who later admitted that he had wanted to die, gulped down an entire bottle of vodka and dozed off on the railway tracks.
Seeing the train approaching, the dog rushed to pull its owner to safety.
The train drivers spotted the duo and pulled the brakes, but unfortunately, just as the owner was dragged out of mortal danger, the train ran over the dog’s hind legs and killed it instantly.
The owner survived with minor injuries.
Heroic sacrifice 2
Gander, a Newfoundland dog, initially started off as a family pet named Pal, but was eventually given away to The Royal Rifles of Canada, a Canadian Army regiment which renamed and “promoted” him to the rank of “sergeant”.
He was shipped off to Hong Kong with his comrades, just in time to witness and participate in the defence of Hong Kong against the Japanese invasion.
In the fierce fighting, he engaged the Japanese in battle three times and in the third and final encounter, the Japanese lobbed a grenade at a group of Canadian troopers.
Without a second thought, Gander picked it up and ran off to a safe distance; where it detonated and killed him but saved the soldiers.
Gander was awarded the Dickin Medal in 2000, the Victoria Cross-equivalent for animals.
The citation reads, “Twice Gander’s attacks halted the enemy’s advance and protected groups of wounded soldiers. In a final act of bravery, the war dog was killed in action gathering a grenade. Without Gander’s intervention, many more lives would have been lost in the assault.”
Heroic sacrifice 3
Dachshunds or “sausage dogs” are normally regarded to be little more than adorable pooches to cuddle in your lap.
Yet, in 2014, a dachshund in Serbia rescued a 10-year-old girl from the attack of a fearsome bull-mastiff cross-breed but paid with his own life.
Leo the Dachshund had not seemed to be hero material, what with his history of running away from bigger dogs and preference for cuddles, but when the girl was pinned down by a neighbour’s guard dog, Leo charged in and bit the much larger dog in the leg.
By the time little Nikolina had gotten the help she needed, Leo had been mauled bloody and was mortally wounded.
His sacrifice is rewarded with a monument in the town’s public park, with the inscription, “To all the small heroes with big hearts.”
Heroic sacrifice 4
Pit bulls tend to have a bad (and false) reputation as hyper-aggressive dogs with an insatiable blood lust.
However, they are really just as loyal as any other dog and will lay down their lives to protect their family.
In 2015, a pit bull in Florida named Lucy lost her life protecting her owner’s mother from a violent ex-boyfriend.
She had lunged at the knife-wielding man and was stabbed in the neck for her courage; though in the ensuing scuffle, family members managed to subdue the man.
Her owner later said, “She did her job. She did what she was supposed to do, and I am going to make sure that she leaves her name on this Earth.”
Heroic sacrifice 5
In 2016, a pit bull terrier in the Philippines sacrificed itself to protect its master’s wife and her grandmother from a cobra that had slithered into their house.
While his master was away, Chief the dog was awoken from his slumber by the screams of the women as the snake was on the verge of attacking them.
Rushing to their aid, Chief bit the snake and mauled it by slamming it onto the ground repeatedly.
Unfortunately, at some point during their struggle, the venomous snake delivered a fatal blow to the brave dog before dying itself.
Chief stayed alive just long enough for his master to return home from work, just for a final glimpse and a wag of his tail.