Dogs Save Humans' Lives… in a Variety of Ways


As dog owners know, canines are more than just our friends. Many of us consider them family.

They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. They bring us joy during good times and comfort when we're down.

We don't know what we'd do without them. That's especially true of people who are dependent on dogs for their physical and mental health.

Some are trained for this very purpose. We call them service dogs. And "serve" is exactly what they do.

Guide Dogs

Let's take a look at the different kinds of service dogs out there. And stay with me because then we'll get into specific cases of how dogs have heroically saved lives.

The most common is the guide dog. They lead visually impaired and blind people around obstacles. Often in high-traffic areas.

The breeds most often chosen for this activity are the Golden and Labrador Retrievers.

But just about any dog can be trained for this. Even Poodles. These guide dogs wear special harnesses for their tasks and often wear vests.

Mobility Assistance Dogs

Another type is the mobility assistance dog. This animal is taught to perform basic duties that a physically impaired individual is unable to do.

Often these people are confined to wheelchairs because of ailments ranging from arthritis to spinal cord injuries.

Among these dogs' activities are bringing objects to their owners and pressing buttons on automatic doors.

These are almost always larger dogs, due to the importance of physically assisting their owners. Some can even help pull a wheelchair up a ramp.

Hearing Dogs

Some people who are deaf or have hearing impairments choose to let a dog do their hearing for them.

They will alert their owners to noises they should be aware of. Including doorbells and alarms. Even crying babies. Once they hear a sound like that, they'll touch their owners and lead them toward the sound.

A wide variety of breeds can be trained as hearing dogs. Labradors and Goldens are among them. But a large dog is not necessarily needed for this task.

Among other breeds that have been trained in this area are Cocker Spaniels, Poodles and Shih Tzus. Even Chihuahuas.

Diabetic Alert Dogs

Others trained for an alert scenario are diabetic alert dogs. Because their sense of smell is so keen, they can detect a change associated with hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic events.

In other words, they can alert a human to a potential diabetic attack before blood sugar highs or lows reach dangerous levels.

This alert lets humans know it's time to test their blood. They can then inject insulin or ingest glucose in time.

Some of these dogs are also trained to alert someone else in the home or set off an alarm if their human needs medical assistance.

Therapy Dogs

Another service some dogs provide is assisting those who experience PTSD, anxiety and depression.

These are often larger dogs, including German Shepherds. They make humans feel safer in a variety of ways. Including giving their owners more personal space by standing between them and other people in public places.

These dogs are trained to enter a dwelling in front of humans, sometimes even turning on lights with a foot pedal.

The dog ensures that the human will get out of the home more often, including for exercise. And it gives the human something to love and care for.

Dogs Sense Danger in Advance

Prior to the devastating tsunami that ravaged Indonesia in 2004 and killed some 230,000 people, many animals were seen scurrying to higher ground.

Somehow they sensed their lives were in danger and that the higher up they were, the safer they would be. Unfortunately, the same was not true of humans.

Dogs have been known to behave strangely prior to natural disasters. Including earthquakes and tornados.

Watch for erratic behavior from your dogs, including excessive barking, whining, pacing and even biting. They might be trying to tell you something.

Saving Humans From Animals, Fire, Choking, Poisoning and Drowning

As promised, here are some real-life examples of dogs saving the lives of humans.

  • An 18-month-old Golden Retriever named Angel leaped in front of an 11-year boy to stop an attack by a cougar. Authorities put the cougar down and Angel recovered from her injuries.
  • As a house fire raged and the parents grabbed their kids and ran, they didn't know where their infant was. Suddenly their mixed-breed dog came racing out of the house, carrying the baby by her diaper.
  • As a Golden Retriever's owner was choking on an apple, he leapt onto her chest, dislodging the apple. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals gave the dog an award.
  • Being repeatedly woken up by the family dog was annoying at first, but a woman soon realized the dog was trying to communicate something. She woke the rest of the family and they got out of the house just in time to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • A Labrador Retriever named Norman saved a girl from drowning when he heard her cry for help. What makes the rescue more remarkable is that Norman is blind.

There are countless other examples, but you get the idea. Many dogs are more than just our friends. They are true heroes.

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Toni M - August 12, 2020

I know all of these stories are about dogs, but I have to put my little two cents worth in that my cat is also a hero! I was asleep one night I am a full on diabetic insulin dependent, and in my sleep my blood sugar tanked. My cat pawed and pawed at my face until she finally woke me up, Saving me from what could’ve been a pretty bad diabetic coma. I was able to get some glucose in me and raise my blood sugar to normal levels. She is a hero!

Cheryl Heisler - August 11, 2020

You talk about the wonderful dogs, but you shouldn’t leave out cats. My cat was extremely insistent on waking me up one night. She kept jumping on my chest and patting my face. Her meows were more like yowls. I got up to find the stove on fire. Fortunately, she woke me up soon enough that I was able to get out of the house in time. I owe my life to a 9 lb cat named Kneesha.

m marra - August 10, 2020

Animal rescues discriminate. They do not want to give animals to people over 75. I had to go to a breeder and found a wonderful dog. Have had her over a year and she is going on 2 yrs. Don’t donate to rescues. They also buy up the good dogs from shelters.

Breanna Mundt - August 10, 2020

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the dog hero stories.
I just had to put down my second older dog.
Each dog was a GREAT comfort to me after I survived 25 years of szophrenia mental illness.
Thankfully Jesus healed me through His word and power in His name but my 2 dogs helped me have joy and love again.

Dino - August 10, 2020

Your dog, yes can save you from many toil & dangers in life however like a child must be trained by a professional. Most dogs desire to be trained and so do the owners, so your dog maintains good health without depression, anxiety which are just a couple of things to make a poorly behaved family member/aid…

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