Throughout time, dogs have stepped up to help humans. And here are the stories of three super canine heroes.
Barry lived at the Great St. Bernard Hospice in Switzerland where, in the early 1800s, he saved more than 40 lives. His most famous rescue was that of a young boy who fell asleep in a cavern of ice. After warming up the boy’s body by licking him, Barry moved the boy onto his back and carried the child back to the hospice. The boy survived and was returned to his parents.
Barry left the convent during storms with a basket of emergency supplies around his neck and searched the mountains. If he found anyone buried under avalanches, he dug them out and brought them back to life.
Barry began the long distinguished line of St. Bernards. In his honor, the original hospice has always had a dog named Barry.
No, not the entertainer. This droopy-faced, scenting sleuth was a Bloodhound from Kentucky.
In the early 19th Century Nick tracked scents (often cold), even following one for 55 miles. In 1909 Nick and his hander were called to investigate the possible arson or a barn that had burned down over a week before. Nose to ground, Nick circled the ruins, then found the arsonist in a farmhouse a mile away.
Nick is credited with more than 650 finds, and evidence gathered by his nose sent 126 criminals to jail.
More recently, Belle, a Beagle, turned out to be more than a pet. She was a life saver. She was trained to summon help if her owner’s blood sugar levels dropped dangerously low. She did this by biting down the number 9 on a cell phone to contact 911.
She periodically licked her owner’s nose to read his blood-sugar levels. If something seemed off, she pawed and whined at him. And she was never wrong.
Belle was the first canine recipient of the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, which is usually given to a person using a cell phone to save a life, prevent a crime, or help in an emergency.