There’s a reason dogs are so often referred to as humankind’s best friend — or, perhaps more accurately, many reasons. If there’s one thing the sheer volume of badass things dogs have done to, for, with, or in spite of their humans proves, it’s that they’re definitely worthy of our love and respect. Yes, even when they’re being mischievous. Because, I mean, sure, dogs who manage to escape the confines of the family home by figuring out how to open the garage door may be kind of annoying… but dang, that’s impressive.
Indeed, dogs are a lot smarter and more perceptive than we often give them credit for. Studies have found that they’re “brainier” than cats, that they’re capable of lying to their humans to get what they want, and that they can be kept awake at night by their worries just like humans can. But then again, given the huge number of heroic, hilarious, and outright astonishing things we’ve heard of dogs doing, their smarts perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Indeed, stories demonstrating the gumption of our faithful, four-legged friends are widely spread across the internet and the world. Sometimes they go viral, becoming huge cultural sensations; sometimes they merely exist as smaller parts of larger discussions about the incredible things dogs can do; but either way, they’re notable all the same. These 13 dogs, for example, have done everything from save their humans’ lives to fight off animals that are bigger and more vicious than they are. Talk about some very good boys and girls!
1The Labrador That Rescued An Orphaned Baby Bear
At the beginning of April, Marvin Owings was out walking his black Lab, Boomer, near the town of Saluda in North Carolina when Boomer started barking at something up ahead, reported the Charlotte Observer. When Owings looked a little closer, he found that Boomer had located a tiny, terrified bear cub. They initially left the bear where it was in case its mother was nearby, but when they passed by later on, the bear was still alone and had fallen several hundred feet from where they had first spotted it. So they called a veterinarian, who rescued the bear, fed it, and notified a state wildlife resource officer. The bear, who was very malnourished and apparently orphaned, is now being cared for at a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
2The Dachshund That Fought A Bat And Won
In 2013, Redditor u/cheddar_ posted a thread to the AskReddit sub titled, “What Is The Most Badass Thing Your Pet Has Ever Done?” It is a gem, and I highly recommend perusing it in its entirely whenever you get a chance. It’s true that this particular story from u/Killgore-Trout (I understood that reference!) isn’t the most dramatic of the bunch — but the fact that it stars a dachshund just makes it work. The mental image of a weiner dog ferociously battling with a bat is the stuff comic book dreams are made of.
3This Belgian Shepherd Who Adopted A Baby Owl
Ingo comes from a family of police dogs. Poldi the owl was the runt of the litter. And yet, they formed an adorable bond, with Ingo acting as a protector figure to his feathery counterpart. Their human, German photographer and artist Tanja Brandt, documents their lives on Instagram — and honestly, it is the only Instagram account I need. It’s JUST THAT CUTE.
4The Irish Wolfhound Mix That Saved His Human From A House Fire
Who’s a good boy? Puck is a good boy! Yes, you are!
5The Golden Retriever Who Refused To Leave The Pet Store
Admittedly, this one is less “OMG SUCH A HEROIC BOY” and more “WOW, that dog is stubborn as heck and I love it,” but, well… you’ve got to respect a pup who stands his ground, right? The Golden in question is named Rufio; he went viral in 2016 for this video, which was posted both to Instagram and YouTube, showing how he acts when he’s at the pet store with his human and really, really doesn’t want to leave. You can see more of his antics on Instagram @livingthatgoldenlife.
6The Dog Who Learned To Scale Vertical Walls
And I thought my cat was impressive for learning how to scale her tallest scratcher. Clearly she’s got some catching up to do.
7The Mutt Who Chased Off An Intruder
Never underestimate what a loyal doggo will do to protect their human — even if they’re normally super chill.
8The Beagle That Called 911 When Her Human Had A Seizure
In 2006, a beagle named Belle dialed 911 by biting down on a cell phone when her human, who is diabetic, collapsed from a seizure. To be fair, Belle had been trained to do this; if she detected an emergency, she would bite the number 9 on the phone’s keypad in order to contact 911. Said Weaver to the Associated Press after the fact, “There is no doubt in my mind that I’d be dead if I didn’t have Belle.”
9This Pupper Who Tipped Its Humans Off About An Incoming Bomb During World War II
10Everything Frida The Rescue Dog Has Ever Done
A Lab who is part of the Mexican Navy’s Canine Unit, Frida — who is named for the painter Frida Kahlo — sniffs out people who have been trapped by rubble, debris, and other fallout due to natural disasters. Over the course her career, she has located 52 people; 12 of them were found alive and subsequently rescued, according to the Los Angeles Times. Her skills made her invaluable after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Sept. 19, 2017 — and her story offered a ray of hope, as well.
11The Chow Mix Who Escaped An Alligator
And I’m sure she’s still foiling alligators in the Great Backyard In The Sky.
12The Chihuahua-Poodle Mix Who Faced Down A Snake To Defend His Humans
According to the New York Daily News, Martha Rodriguez’s two small granddaughters were outside making mud pies at her home in Texas’ Hueco Mountains in 2013 when they heard a hiss and a rattle. When the little girls looked up, they saw a rattlesnake aiming to strike.
That was when Rodriguez’s 10-pound chihuahua-poodle mix literally leapt into the fray, jumping between the snake and the girls in order to protect them. Rodriguez and her neighbors were then able to catch and kill the snake. The pup was bitten in the eye, which he ultimately lost — but he’s a hero all the same.
Also, his name is Psycho.
I love everything about this story. (Except for the fact that Psycho lost an eye, of course.)