It is my firm belief that notability should be recognized by the actions of an individual rather than the people or groups that he or she is associated with, and that goes for dogs too. There are plenty of dogs out there that are famous for not doing anything in particular. Just because someone has won an election or blessed the silver screen with their presence doesn’t mean that their dog deserves applause. What dogs genuinely merit our respect? Here are 7 Labradors that truly do deserve recognition for their outstanding accomplishments.
1) Endal, Not Your Average Service Dog
There has never been a service dog quite like Endal. Recognized as the most decorated dog in the world, there isn’t a labrador that’s more deserving. Endal was a service dog to Allen Parton, a disabled war veteran from the Gulf War. Endal knew 100 different spoken commands, and when Allen Parton couldn’t speak, he responded to hundreds of signed commands. Endal could help with grocery shopping by retrieving items from shelves. He could flip buttons and switches, and operate an elevator. He was the first dog that could operate an ATM machine, and even return the debit card to the wallet when he was finished. Endal learned to drain the bathtub before getting help if Allen fell unconscious when bathing.
In fact, Endal saved Allen’s life on one occasion in the year 2001. Allen was knocked out of his wheelchair by a car, rendering him unconscious. Endal pulled Allen into the recovery (fetal) position, retrieved his cell phone from under the car, fetched a blanket and covered Allen with it, barked at nearby houses for assistance, and then ran off to a nearby hotel to try and get help for his master.
But Endal did more for Allen than just save his life—he taught him to talk again. In an interview, Allen Parton said, “Eventually one day, in this very silent world we lived in, I grunted. That was like an electric shock going through him, he was so excited. They said I’d never speak again, but Endal just dragged the speech out of me.”
On top of everything else, Endal was Clicker Trained! If you want a great example of the effects of positive reinforcement, take a look at Endal for encouragement.
…To read more about Endal, check out his book written by his owner, Allen Parton.
2) Lucky and Flo, Pirate Hunters
Trained to detect CDs and DVDs, these dogs dealt a major blow to DVD pirates in Malaysia. Employed by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), they were sent to Malaysia in 2007 to sniff out illegal DVDs. These dogs can smell the polycarbonate chemicals used in the production of optical disks, and are the first dogs to use their sense of smell to sniff out DVDs. Lucky and Flo were more than successful, and because of their hard work, 6 people were arrested, and the dogs sniffed out $3-million worth of illegal pirated copies.
…Furthermore, their canine super-powers are feared so much by Malaysian crime bosses, they put a bounty out on their heads: now Lucky and Flo have their own security, and are always kept in a secret safehouse!
3) Jake, Elite Search and Rescue Dog
Jake was rescued at 10 months old. He was limping with a broken leg and a dislocated hip, abandoned by his owners. “But against all odds he became a world-class rescue dog.” His owner, Mary Flood, is a member of Utah Task Force 1, and she trained Jake to become a U.S. certified rescue dog. Only 200 dogs are part of this elite team, and are on call 24 hours a day, ready to respond to catastrophes, wherever the World needs them most.
…Jake is best known for responding to the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, and was among those dogs who tirelessly searched for survivors among the debris. He searched through flooded rubble after Hurricane Katrina, and sought out people in their flooded homes. His life was dedicated to saving human lives. And even when he died of cancer in 2007, his body was donated to science to better improve the lives of rescuers suffering from respiratory disease attributed to disaster sites.
4) Zanjeer, Super Bomb Detector
Zanjeer isn’t your typical bomb sniffing dog—he was practically “the best” bomb detector. What impresses us is the sheer volume of illegal contraband that he detected: Because of Zanjeer, officials were able to recover 175 petrol bombs, 57 country-made bombs, 11 military bombs and 600 detonators — as well as — three AK-56 rifles, five 9-mm pistols, and 200 grenades.
…But that was just the beginning. In 1993, during the time of the Mumbai bombings, Zanjeer alerted police to a bomb found inside a scooter, containing plastic explosives intended for pedestrians walking along the busy street. He prevented two other major attacks by finding bombs and weapons. In total, he found over 3,000 kilograms worth of military grade plastic explosive — no doubt saving the lives of countless humans.
5) Salty and Roselle, Courageous Guide Dogs
Many dogs demonstrated their courage during the tragic events of 9/11, but two dogs in particular stand out. When the planes hit the World Trade Center towers in 2001, these two guide dogs, Salty and Roselle, demonstrated true devotion to their owners. Salty was on the 71st floor of Tower 1 when the plane hit the building that morning—Roselle was on floor 78. Amid the smoke and debris, the immediate panic, the fires and chaos, both dogs led their masters down more than 70 smoke clogged floors to safety.
…Roselle not only saved her master, taking him to a nearby subway station, but once there, helped a woman who had been blinded by falling debris. Roselle was awarded the American Dog Hero Award by the American Humane Society, and both Roselle and Salty were awarded the Dickin Medal by the British charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. These two labradors exemplify the dedication and courage it takes to be a true hero.
This was a tough post for us: it was extremely hard to pick only 7 dogs out of all the Labradors out there who have demonstrated bravery and courage in the worst of situations. What about you? Do you know of notable labradors that need to be recognized?