Now, who’s a good dog?
These tales of heroism and loyalty will have you busting out the kibble
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/05/2017 (2142 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s the kind of heart-tugging tale of devotion that leaves readers around the world feeling warm and fuzzy.
Unless you spent last week in a coma, chances are you saw the viral photos of a loyal dog in Argentina that refused to leave his injured master’s side, hugging him and nuzzling his face until help arrived.
The doggie drama began when Jesus Hueche, 28, was pruning branches outside his home in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and fell about two metres out of a tree, cracking his head on the concrete pavement.
When paramedics arrived, they discovered the unconscious Hueche was not alone — his faithful dog Tony was “hugging him,” perching astride his master’s chest and never leaving his side.
The paramedics gently applied a neck brace under Tony’s watchful eye, then posted photos of the heartwarming scene on Facebook, where they quickly went viral.
“He (Tony) goes everywhere with me and lies in my bed until my wife kicks him out,” Hueche said after being treated for minor injuries.
“One day we saw him on the street and adopted him, gave him love, food, and he is part of our family. For me, he’s like a son.”
As dog lovers already know, canine companions are famous for that kind of loyalty. If you don’t believe us, check out today’s inspiring list of The Five (OK, Six) Most Famously Loyal Dogs in History:
5) The famously loyal dog: Ruswarp
The heart-tugging tale: Lancashire resident Graham Nuttall and his border collie Ruswarp (pronounced “Russup”) were an inseparable duo, totally devoted to each other and to saving Britain’s most scenic railway line, the famed Settle to Carlisle line, which was to be shut down in the 1980s.
The beloved railway line was reprieved in 1989, thanks largely to the work of Nuttall, who helped form Friends of the Settle to Carlisle Line, and Ruswarp, who was deemed a paying passenger and whose pawprint was the only canine signature on a petition opposing the line’s closing.
Passionate hikers, Nuttall and Ruswarp, who was 14 at the time, got day-return tickets from Burnley to Llandrindod on Jan. 20, 1990, to go winter hiking in the Welsh Mountains. The inseparable pair didn’t return.
According to news reports at the time, neighbours raised the alarm and searches by police and mountain rescue teams found nothing. Finally, 11 weeks later, on April 7, 1990, a lone walker discovered Nuttall’s body near a mountain stream. Standing guard over his master was a cold and starving Ruswarp, who was so weak he had to be carried off the mountain by rescuers.
“He had stayed with his master’s body for 11 winter weeks,” notes a blog dedicated to the dog’s memory. The RSPCA awarded the dog its Animal Medallion and collar for vigilance, and a plaque for intelligence and courage.
Ruswarp lived just long enough to attend his master’s funeral. An eyewitness gave this account: “The elderly couple who had Ruswarp in their care sat at the front and, as ever on public occasions, Ruswarp sat patiently and silently throughout the service, but as the curtains closed on the coffin there was a long low muffled howl. It was uncanny, Ruswarp’s farewell. I shall never forget this.”
In 2009, a bronze statue of the devoted dog was unveiled at Garsdale Station on the Settle to Carlisle line.
4) The famously loyal dog: Bobbie the Wonder Dog
The heart-tugging tale: It all began in late 1923 when the Brazier family of Silverton, Ore., was on vacation in Indiana and Bobbie, their two-year old Scotch collie/English shepherd mix, was separated and became lost.
After an exhaustive search, the broken-hearted family was forced to return to Oregon, never expecting to see their beloved pet again.
Six months later, in February 1924, the Braziers were still grieving the loss of their pet when Bobbie appeared on their front doorstep, mangy and scrawny with his feet worn to the bone. Somehow, the lost dog had managed to walk all the way from Indiana to Oregon, an ordeal in which he crossed 4,105 kilometres of plains, desert and mountains in the dead of winter.
His story quickly became a national sensation. “The Braziers received hundreds of letters from people simply addressed to ‘Bobbie the Wonder Dog’ or ‘Silverton’s Bobbie.’ Some people claimed they had seen Bobbie and were able to identify him by several distinguishing marks,” notes the website The Oregon Encyclopedia.
The Oregon Humane Society investigated and was able to confirm Bobbie did, in fact, make his incredible journey. The celebrity dog was showered with honours, including medals, keys to cities and a jewel-studded harness and collar. He was featured in books and portrayed himself in a silent film entitled The Call of the West.
When Bobbie died in 1927, he was buried with honours at the Oregon Humane Society and the famed German shepherd film star Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath at his grave.
Today, a statue of Bobbie stands outside his original doghouse in downtown Silverton.
3) The famously loyal dog(s): Salty and Roselle
The heart-tugging tale: What we are talking about here are two Labrador retriever guide dogs who are forever bonded by their fierce loyalty to their blind masters and their heroism.
Omar Rivera was busy working in his cubicle on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, while his guide dog Salty snoozed at his feet, when the 9/11 terror attacks began. The blind Port Authority of New York and New Jersey worker had just hit the print command on his computer when he heard the unfathomable sound of a jet tearing into the tower 22 floors above him.
Rivera put on Salty’s harness and the pair began their escape down the nearest flight of stairs, which quickly filled with smoke and terrified people.
Fearing it was too much for his dog, Rivera let go of Salty’s harness so he could head down unfettered and alone. “I tried to let him go down first for a few minutes, but he said, ‘No!” Rivera told Today.com in 2015. “He refused to leave me. He came back to me. He said, ‘We are together. As long as we are in here, we are together.’”
Salty somehow opened a path for Rivera — he had an uncanny ability to navigate through crowds — and the pair made it down to street level together.
At the same time, another guide dog named Roselle was helping her blind owner, Michael Hingson, escape from the 78th floor. Roselle was sleeping under her owner’s desk in Tower 2 when the attacks began.
Despite the terror and confusion, Roselle led her owner and 30 other people down 1,462 steps out of the tower. “After descending over halfway down, the second plane hit into Tower 2,sending debris and smoke down the stairwell. Roselle remained totally focused on her job. Debris fell all around them, even hitting them, (but) Roselle stayed calm,” recalls the Florida Standard.
The heroic dogs were later awarded medals from both the American and British humane societies.
2) The famously loyal dog: Hachiko
The heart-tugging tale: For some dogs, loyalty extends well beyond the grave. That was the case for Hachiko, a golden brown Akita whose legendary devotion to his late master has inspired bestselling books and hit movies, including 2009’s Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere.
Hachiko (“Hachi” meaning eight, and “Ko” meaning affection) was born on a Japanese farm in late 1923 and was adopted early the next year by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo. The pair became inseparable and quickly established a workday routine: Hachiko would accompany the professor to the nearby train station, then return home on his own, returning to the station later to greet his master as he returned from work.
Their daily routine continued until May 1925, when Ueno failed to return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while giving a lecture, and died without returning to the station where his devoted dog patiently waited.
Each day — for the next nine years, nine months and 15 days — Hachiko awaited Ueno’s return, appearing at the east exit of Shibuya Station precisely when the train was due to arrive.
Initially, the attention Hachiko attracted from commuters wasn’t always friendly, but after news reports of the dog’s loyalty began to surface, they brought him treats and food.
In 1934, a bronze statue of the dog was erected at the station, with Hachiko present for the unveiling. That likeness was recycled for the metal during the Second World War.
On March 8, 1935, Hachiko’s body was found on a side street in Shibuya. It is believed he died of cancer coupled with an infection. His remains rest beside those of his master.
In 1948, a new statue was erected and it has become a famous place to meet in downtown Tokyo.
1) The famously loyal dog: Greyfriars Bobby
The heart-tugging tale: They don’t get any more famously loyal than this little Skye terrier whose unwavering devotion to his late master spawned a host of books and films, including the classic 1961 Disney version that made this columnist weep like a baby back in the day.
The best-known version of the tale, as spelled out by Historic-UK.com, is that Bobby belonged to John Gray, who became a night watchman with the Edinburgh Police Force in 1850. The two became a familiar sight trudging along the cobbled streets through thick and thin, winter and summer.
In 1858, Gray died of tuberculosis and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, where Bobby refused to leave his master’s grave, even in dire weather. In the end, the groundskeeper provided a shelter for Bobby at the side of Gray’s grave.
“It is reported that almost on a daily basis the crowds would gather at the entrance… waiting for the one o’clock gun that would signal the appearance of Bobby leaving the grave for his midday meal,” Historic-UK.com recalls. “Bobby would follow William Dow, a local joiner and cabinet maker to the same coffee house that he had frequented with his now dead master, where he was given a meal… For 14 years (he) kept constant watch and guard over the grave until his own death in 1872.”
Baroness Angelia Georgina Burdett-Coutts, president of the ladies committee of the RSPCA, was so deeply moved she had a granite fountain built with a statue of Bobby on top.
Author Jan Bondeson has argued the story was likely a hoax to promote tourism: “It won’t ever be possible to debunk the story of Greyfriars Bobby. He’s a living legend, the most faithful dog in the world, and bigger than all of us.”
It doesn’t matter if the story is 100 per cent accurate. (We personally believe it is.) The point is, there are thousands of equally heart-rending stories of dogs who remained loyal even after the deaths of their masters.
As Canadian dog expert Stanley Coren once said: “The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.”
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.