Over the years, famous service dogs have provided both emotional and physical health benefits to their owners. But, for many of these loyal pets they have also taken up the job of providing security and some amazing feats of valor. From fire station dogs to search and rescue dogs, guide and hearing dogs to therapeutic dogs that offer emotional support and compassion – here we look at 5 of the most famous animals in our history.
Balto — The Siberian Husky
In 1925, this now famous sled dog team leader made an emergency run to successfully deliver life-saving serum to fight an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, Alaska. The medicine was sent to Anchorage, but the plane that would travel the final leg was grounded with a frozen engine. The nearby harbor was ice-choked, temperatures were below zero, and the nearest train was 700 miles away. This final stretch of travel would be long and very dangerous, even for a team of sled dogs.
Because of Balto’s tireless efforts in driving the pack through unforgiving terrain, the children of Nome and the village of 1,400 people were safe from this fast-spreading disease. The story of Balto was made into a popular movie, and he is also the inspiration for the “last great race on Earth,” the Iditarod.
Sully — Presidential ESA Dog
You may remember the heartwarming images of President George H.W. Bush’s service dog Sully sitting quietly at the foot of his flag-draped casket in 2018. After the passing of Barbara Bush, Sully was given a detail as the former President’s emotional support animal. Having a support dog is a common therapeutic method to help the elderly deal with grieving, loneliness and sadness. Sully’s duties included fetching hard-to-reach items, answering a telephone, and summoning help when needed in an emergency.
The yellow Labrador, Sully, is still servicing veterans. He is happily working for the U.S. Navy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington.
Cloud II — Finder of Missing Children
Here we travel to Ontario, Canada, where a determined German shepherd helped locate countless missing children. Not only that but also, capturing 123 fugitives across the country. According to the National Post:
“Cloud II’s final operation occurred in the late summer of 1975. Donald Kelly, facing trial for a double murder, overpowered a North Bay prison guard. He fled with a rifle and stolen car! Kicking off one of the most dramatic police chases in Northern Ontario history… Cloud II was able to pick up Kelly’s scent in Skead, Ont., more than 140 kilometers northwest of North Bay. Cornering the fugitive in a remote wilderness cabin.”
Here we see service dogs acting in multiple capacities — comforter, rescuer and savior. If you are looking at how service pets can positively impact your life or that of a loved one, contact American Service Pets to learn how easy it is to have your service animal certified as an emotional support animal.