We know – as far as great pups are concerned, it truly doesn’t get better than the loyal companion who is waiting to snuggle up with you at the end of a long day. Maybe he’s even curled up by your feet or relaxing in your lap while you’re reading this. But there are a few notable historical pooches that just might give Fido a run for his money! Dig in to learn more about the five historical pups that recently caught our eye.
Arguably one of the most well-known hero dogs of all time (thanks to the 1995 animated film of the same name), Balto was a purebred Siberian Husky who led the last leg of the journey to deliver diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska. While the film takes some artistic liberties, the reality of the story is this: in 1925, Alaska was experiencing a diphtheria epidemic, and when a supply of diphtheria medication expired and was no longer effective, multiple teams of sled dogs – called a relay – were tasked with bringing new diphtheria antitoxin from Nenana to Nome. While Balto lead the last leg of the seven-day journey (known as the "Great Race of Mercy") and delivered the serum to Nome, we’d be remiss not to mention Togo, the dog who lead the pack through the most treacherous leg of the journey.
While there were many brave dogs who worked tirelessly during rescue efforts after the September 11th attacks, Apollo was the first search-and-rescue dog at the South Tower, arriving just 15 minutes after the towers fell. Accompanied by his handler, Peter Davis, German Shepherd Apollo risked his own life to search for survivors, working as much as 18-hour days for weeks on end – even facing his own brush with death as he was hit by falling, flaming debris. He received the AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence, as well as the Dickin Medal, which he accepted on behalf of all search-and-rescue dogs.
“I love a dog,” said actor and humorist Will Rogers. “He does nothing for political reasons.” Well, Will must have never met Bosco Ramos – a black lab and rottweiler mix that was elected the honorary mayor of Sunol, California! Although Bosco was originally nominated as a joke, he actually beat out both human nominees and went on to hold the seat for 13 years until his death in 1994.
Much like Bosco, Brownie once lived an unassuming life. A mixed breed stray pup living in California, Brownie generally avoided people… until the day he was hit by a car and left by the side of the road. Knowing he needed help, he dragged himself along the train tracks to the Victorville train station before collapsing. The crew nursed Brownie back to health and began taking him along on train rides and sharing their scraps of meat with him. Brownie was there to meet every train and became something of a celebrity, eventually even being promoted to stationmaster! Brownie sadly met his end in 1945, under the wheels of one of his beloved trains. Although he was buried in front of the station, today you’ll find his grave in a lot across the street from where the station once stood – his old friends and crew refused to allow his grave to be bulldozed when the station was destroyed.
5. Sun Yat-Sen
People will do just about anything for their pups… and deception is, apparently, no exception! When the Titanic went down in 1912, there were at least 12 dogs on board. Because dogs were not allowed in lifeboats, many passengers chose to stay behind with their pups and meet their fate together. Three dogs did survive; Sun Yat-Sen, a Pekingese, was one of those pups, who sailed to safety inside lifeboat number three. The small stature of the surviving dogs allowed them to be easily disguised as babies and snuck aboard lifeboats!
Dogs are amazing, and these are only a handful of the many brave and interesting pups who have earned themselves a place in history. Do you have a favorite story of a special pup? Share it with us in the comments!