Most of us have heard of the amazing dogs that can be trained to see for their blind masters and the dogs that are trained to hear for their deaf masters and even some of us may have heard about therapy dogs that are used as therapy in hospitals, schools and nursing homes to name a few places, as petting a dog or pet has been proven to decrease stress levels in humans. So there we have it whether you like it or not these are a few of the important jobs dogs do for the disabled or ill humans.
What about the jobs they do, that we don’t see day to day?
1957, Laika became the first animal launched into orbit (image wikipedia)
Before Neil Armstrong made his moon landing a Soviet space dog named Laika was the first animal to orbit the Earth, sadly she was also the first orbital death. She died from the heat and stress just before re-entering the earth’s orbit. The consequences of her death and flight are difficult to come to terms with as dog lovers but she proved that it was possible for a living passenger to survive being launched into orbit and that the body could cope with weightlessness. Laika’s mission gave scientist’s valuable informational data about how a living organism would react in spaceflight environments. A small monument stands in honour of Laika near the military research facility in Moscow.
Romanian stamp from 1959 with Laika (Image Wikipedia)
Search and Rescue dogs.
It is said that when Napoleon Bonaparte was fleeing the Island Elba to which he had been exiled in 1815, his ship got into difficulties in the rough seas and Napoleon was flung into the sea but he was saved and he owed his life to a fisherman’s dog that pulled him to safety. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dog’s form didn’t get changed into that of a mermaid over the years.
On a day that is etched strongly into most of the minds of the whole worlds population, September 11, 2001, the day the Jets crashed into the Worlds Trade Centre New York City, dogs from New York City Police Departments K9 unit were amongst the first to arrive at the scene of the devastation that followed. They bravely went in to the Trade Centre, searching for signs of life and helping rescuers pull people from the debris.
Search and rescue dogs are widely used in avalanche situations and on mountains. Their keen noses can pick up on a scent hours after the person passed by or in conditions not humanly possible.
Dogs of War.
Dog’s have played a vital part in assisting in combat since the early 1900s. Specialized dogs were trained to do certain tasks like delivering first aid equipment to injured soldiers, tracking mines or people, pulling sledges with food, people or medicine inboard. Dogs were trained by keeping them hungry and then food would be placed underneath stationary tanks. The dogs would go under the tanks to be fed. Later in training moving tanks were introduced, after that the dogs job would be to wear a small detonator device and blow up the tanks. During World War 11, the Russians trained their dogs so well they managed to disable 11 armoured vehicles in a single battle. After this the German soldiers were given orders to shoot every dog they saw.
Dogs are still of vital importance in war and used to detect mines and to search out bombs and weapons and injured soldiers.
Author of photograph, Taff Sgt. L. Pearsall. U.S. Air Force military working dog Jackson.
Many different types of dog have been used throughout history in war situations.
The battle of Vercellae, also known as the Battle of the Raudine Plain where large Kimber dogs led by women defended their laagers, which were wagon forts.
Romans imported the English Mastiff after their Canis Molossus were defeated in battle by the Mastiff.
Photo, U.S. Army, public domain.
In wars gone by dogs were used in as messengers, lookout and attack dogs but even now dogs play an important role in helping our Soldiers. Dogs have been imported all over the world in times of war. It is no wonder we have such a wide variety of breeds now days, many breeds would have been modified as dog soldiers.
Police dogs are probably the most common canine crusader we think about dogs working along side humans. Police dogs often called K9’s are specially trained to very high standards and in many Countries the injury or killing of a police dog is a felony. These dogs are part of the police force, some are even made sworn offices and if they are killed in the line of duty some receive a full police funeral. Although we mainly think of the strong, faithful, intelligent and brave German Shepherd, police over the world do use a vast variety of breeds. Different dog breeds have different strengths and these strengths will determine the area of policing that breed will be used in.
Springer Spaniels, Beagles and Labrador Retriever would be used to sniff out drugs, bombs and weapons.
For officer protection and attack duties, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman, Dutch Shepherd and Boxer may be used. Blood Hounds are used to track, sniff out bombs, drugs and for locating evidence.
Springer Spaniel Police dogs at Waterloo Station London. Author Mark Kobayashi-Hillary.
Many of these dogs are used as Airport and railway security, sniffing out dangers and helping to keep us safe.
So whether you love them or hate them, dogs have been and always will be an integral part of our society.