Canine heroism : Remarkable dogs

Phoebe the Basset Hound was trapped in an old cistern and would surely have died had it not been for her canine buddy, Tillie, a Golden Retriever. Tillie stayed for a week at the edge of the deep cistern until help came to rescue her.

Examples of such apparently altruistic behaviour in dogs are not hard to come by. Here’s four examples.


Dog of the Year, 2006, Honey, saved her owner from an SUV accident. Both ended up in a deep ravine. The owner managed to release the dog from the wreckage and the 5 month old English Cocker Spaniel somehow managed to get the attention of a man a half-mile away. Honey led the man to the scene of the accident. Honey’s actions almost certainly saved her owner’s life.


In 2004, a Golden Retriever called Brutis grabbed a venomous coral snake which approached a young child. Brutis was bitten by the snake and nearly died. Luckily he returned to full health in time to be flown to Los Angeles and presented with the National Hero Dog award.

tillieguardsherfriendTillie stayed by her trapped friend Phoebes side for a week before her attempts to get help finally worked. The cistern has since been filled in.
(Photo : Vashon Island Pet Protectors/Facebook)


Nyla the dog risked her life to save her owner, Sheila, from a fire. Sheila’s home went up in flames and she found herself engulfed in smoke. She could not see her hand in front of her face. By barking whenever her owner lost track, Nyla guided Shiela to the nearest door. Sheila’s home including everything she owned was consumed by the flames. Thanks to Nyla’s courage however, Shiela was alive and well.

Sasha: Winner of the Victoria Cross

Sometimes specially trained dogs are recognised for saving lives in the course of the work they and their handlers do.

Yellow Labrador, Sasha, was an army sniffer dog. She and her handler died in an ambush while on active service in Afghanistan. Sasha was awarded the animal Victoria Cross in recognition of the numerous lives she saved by sniffing out hidden weapons and boobytrap bombs in Helmand province.

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