Heroic Pets – Just how important are our four-legged friends?
This week we’re launching our Argos Little Heroes awards competition to find the most incredible cats and dogs! We want you to nominate those pets that you feel are extra special, and if the public agree, you could be in with a chance of winning 1 of 6 prizes.
Whether they’re a loving friend, excuse for exercise or comfort in time of grief; we all know that cats and dogs have become more than just pets. They’re now a full-blown part of the family.
But what about when they become something more than that? What about those pets that become so vital, that life without them would be almost impossible? For a little inspiration before you tell us why your animal is so incredible, we thought we’d take a look at a selection of cats and dogs that have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Tang the Dog
In 1919, a Newfoundland called Tang showed that dogs can have the strength of ten men when their humans are in trouble! When the ‘Ethie’, a ship sailing off the coast of Canada, crashed into jagged rocks, the crew on board were thrown into the water. 93 sailors were stranded and struggling to stay afloat in the stormy sea.
Tang lived on board the ship and the captain saw his four-legged friend as their only hope. He threw Tang a rope and ordered him to swim to the shore. The task of getting to land was a huge one for Tang. The sea was rough and the waves were crashing all around the brave dog. Despite this, Tang managed to swim all the way to the beach with the rope in tow, allowing for the gathering crowd to pull all the sailors to safety.
Tara the Cat
The age-old battle of cats vs dogs has always shown the big dog chasing excitedly after the scared little kitty. Every once-in-a-while, those roles are reversed and never so importantly than in the case of young Jeremy Triantafilo.
Jeremy, 4, was playing on his bike in the driveway outside his house in 2014 when a confused stray dog wandered up and bit him on the leg. The dog took hold of Jeremy’s calf as his mother looked on horrified from the kitchen.
That is when the family cat, Tara, came to her owner’s rescue. Without thought for her own safety, she ran and jumped at the dog, causing it to release Jeremy from its clutches. Tara then chased the dog away, allowing Mrs Triantafilo to come to the aid of her son.
Trakr the Dog
One of the most high profile pets featured in this blog, Trakr is a German Shepherd dog who dug and sniffed through mounds of rubble to save the life of the last, lost surviving victim of the 911 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.
In fact, Trakr was so courageous that he was named one of the bravest animals in history by Time magazine; not bad for a dog who had retired from the force just months earlier. Trakr and his policeman owner were only volunteering in the search and rescue effort having seen the 911 pictures on television.
Smudge the Cat
It isn’t all about saving lives; sometimes it’s about standing up for your owner and showing that you are there for them no matter what. That’s definitely the case with Smudge, a ginger and white moggy who, in 2014, was put forward for ‘Most Heroic Cat of the Year’ at an awards show in London.
The two young boys in Smudge’s family, Ethan, 5, and his 2 year old brother were playing football in the front garden of their house when some older boys came up to them and started being violent and frightening. Their mother could see what was going on from the kitchen window and came rushing outside to protect her sons.
However, she needn’t have worried. Just as she opened the front door, she saw Smudge pounce into action. The brave cat came racing in to jump at the chest of the older boy, knocking him backwards and forcing him, and the other boys, to run off.
However, we can’t judge the importance of our pets solely by their bravery. The love and friendship they offer us is also incredibly important. We also have to look at the different roles that pets, and dogs especially, have learnt that make life more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Take, for example, police dogs, rescue dogs, guide and hearing dogs, seizure alert dogs, therapy dogs….the list goes on and on.
Studies have shown that the average dog has the same levels of understanding as a two year old child in terms of words and gestures. In fact, Chaser, a Border Collie in America, has even gone as far as showing a recognition of over 1000 words; three times that of your typical toddler.
(Tara the Cat credit: Youtube)
(Smudge the cat credit: Express Newspapers)