7 Dogs That Accomplished More Than We Ever Will
If television has taught us anything, it's that heroes can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they're dog-shaped.
In fact, despite having a lifespan shorter than an average Mazda 626, some dogs have managed to accomplish more than most of us could ever hope to. Dogs like...
Stubby, a terrier mix, was found on the Yale campus in 1917 and smuggled aboard the USS Minnesota by his owner, John Robert Conroy, to fight in WWI, making Stubby the only thing from Yale to ever contribute anything to society.
Fuck you, Eli Whitney, and your cotton gin.
Stubby officially entered service February 5, 1918, and fought in the French trenches for 18 months, presumably because the Army's recruiting quota was desperately behind schedule. He was one of the many war dog of WWI, which were used to keep morale up in the trenches by being adorable.
"You know what this war needs?"
"Ooh a puppy!"
"A puppy! Yes, I was just gonna say."
Not content with merely joining the Army and surviving a World War, Stubby the dog also managed to become a bonafide hero. You see, "Sergeant" wasn't just some cutesy name he was given, oh no. He actually earned that rank, meaning a cadre of superior officers decided he was eligible for promotion over other qualified, battle-hardened human beings. Why?
One, he was able to warn his unit of incoming artillery attacks thanks to his dog-hearing, and after being hit by a chlorine attack he became very sensitive to the smell of gas. So much so that he could accurately detect it in the air before it hit lethal dosage, barking like a maniac until the soldiers put their masks on.
Stubby also managed to save many people from "no-mans land," the open stretches of land between trenches, by listening for people shouting in English and then either leading medics to the wounded or guiding the wounded back to their trench. If they were speaking German he would presumably stab them with a bayonet he had clenched in his jaws.
All he asks for in return is your support. And snausages.
Most amazingly, Stubby managed to capture a German spy single-handedly, uncovering the bastard hiding in a bush in no-man's land and making a map of the Allied trenches. Stubby started barking to alert the Allied soldiers, and when the spy ran, Stubby chased him down and bit the shit out of him, subduing him until the Allied soldiers arrived. Not to take anything from Stubby's accomplishment, but we feel this must have been the worst German spy in the history of the world.
Togo the Siberian Husky
Togo was the lead sled dog of a team owned by a man named Leonhard Seppala, a Norwegian that worked for a mining company in Alaska presumably because Norway wasn't providing enough different ways for him to freeze to death.
"Just put the A/C in the corner by the ice block. Oh and don't look, I'm naked."
In 1925, a huge outbreak of diphtheria erupted in remote Alaska, and since there weren't exactly a whole lot of roads available, the only way to deliver medicine was by dog sled. Togo was made the leader of a trip to cross the frozen tundra of Alaska to deliver the antitoxin, braving -35 (Celsius) degree weather with a -65 (Celsius) degree wind chill and a terrible selection of satellite radio stations. And he did it across 84 miles in a single day.
That night, Togo slept for just six hours before heading out again at 2am in a balmy -80(Celsius) degree headwind, journeying along an ice-laden shoreline that was breaking beneath his feet before finally giving the serum to the next team, a plucky group of huskies led by a dog named Balto.
Yes, even though Togo traveled a much longer distance under more extreme conditions, Balto got the cartoon because he happened to be the one that brought the medicine the rest of the way. Fuck him.
Smoky the Yorkshire Terrier
Smoky was a Yorkshire Terrier that was found in an abandoned foxhole in New Guinea in 1944 by American soldiers, who made the logical choice of taking him with them because fuck it, dogs are cute.
He outranks you too... IN CUTENESS!
But seriously, he's your superior officer.
More noteworthy than surviving three years in a war-torn jungle as one of the least threatening animals on the planet is how Smoky managed to do it with approximately the same level of resources as a Dickensian orphan and still avoid being bombed to death 150 times.
"I don't care if it takes 300 bombs, we are killing this dog."
Because Smoky was not an "official" war dog, the Army would not feed him or even give him medical aid if he got shot, possibly due to fact that Smoky was a loose cannon and was making the department look bad. So his owner shared his rations and kept Smoky in his tent, which worked out for the owner's benefit. While on a transport ship, Smoky guided his owner to cover after hearing the whistle of incoming artillery shells over the booming of the ship's cannons.
Smoky also took part in a parachute jump which history has chosen not to explain.
Yep, it's official. This is the greatest picture we've ever run on Cracked.
Actually, looking at that picture, we're not sure an explanation is needed. We're picturing a room full of military men, saying nothing, just nodding to each other and quietly strapping a parachute to a dog. The only possible objection would involve whether or not the camera was in the right position.
Guinefort was a greyhound owned by a French knight in the 13th century and, just to be clear, is an actual saint, despite the Church's insistence that dogs have no souls.
One day, the knight went hunting and left his infant child in the care of Guinefort the dog, which is exactly the kind of decision French people usually make. When he returned, his house was torn up, his baby was missing, and Guinefort's face was covered in blood like Al Roker at a meat packing plant.
Assuming Guinefort had eaten his kid, the knight chopped the dog's head off, only to find the baby safely in a corner of the room next to the mutilated corpse of a viper.
The knight and his family were so distressed about killing their faithful friend that they buried him in a well and built a shrine around it, and Guinefort became a saint for infants, protecting them from the evils of the world. However, a disturbing cult sprang around him with insane rituals that seem to confuse "protecting infants" with "setting infants on fire" as described in a book called De Supersticione: On St. Guinefort:
... mothers took the baby and placed it naked at the foot of the tree on the straws of a cradle, lit at both ends two candles a thumbs breadth thick with fire they had brought with them and fastened them on the trunk above. Then, while the candles were consumed, they went far enough away that they could neither hear nor see the child. In this way the burning candles burned up and killed a number of babies, as we have heard from others in the same place.
"We have excellent day care facilities."
So to recap:
Dog: Performs selfless act that saves a human life.
Human: Kills dog for its trouble.
Other humans: Kill babies in dog's memory.
Yeah they really should be keeping us as pets.
Barry the Saint Bernard
Barry lived during the 19th century in a monastery near the Switzerland-Italy border, serving as an extremely busy rescue dog along what was basically the Route 66 of the Alps.
Barry managed to save more than 40 people's lives in the snow, with no equipment, thumbs or even brandy (the barrel of alcohol carried by St. Bernards is a myth).
This, but with fuckloads of snow.
And in case by "saving lives" you think we mean "he smelled trapped people and barked at them," check this out:
Probably his most spectacular rescue was a small child that got stuck on an icy ledge under layers of snow. Barry, unencumbered by the weight of his massive balls, managed to climb the ledge and started licking the boys face to keep him warm until the monks from the monastery could get to him. Once more, the humans in the story failed. The monks couldn't reach the boy, making death all but a certainty.
But Barry wouldn't give up. He kept desperately trying to revive the boy until miraculously, he woke up and clung to Barry's neck. The dog then carried him to safety. Most of us would have given up on our own child at that point and just gone home to make another one.
Chips the German Shepherd-Collie-Husky Mix
Chips was a ridiculous mix of a bunch of dog breeds that look nothing alike, leading us to believe that alcohol was a factor in his conception. He was shipped off to fight the Axis in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany as a sentry dog, which is basically a guard dog that kills Nazis (i.e., the best kind of guard dog).
During the invasion of Sicily, Chips and Pvt. John Rowell, his handler, were pinned down on a beach by machine gun fire. Chips managed to free himself from Rowell, jumped into the bunker the Italians were firing from and attacked them.
The dog won. The Italians were forced to surrender to the Americans rather than have their throats torn out.
We know what you're thinking: Those were the shittiest soldiers ever, and either were already planning to surrender and the dog probably just got in the way, or at best they had some kind of dog phobia.
Well, guess what. Later that day, Chips captured 10 more Italian soldiers, maybe because they all forgot they were carrying guns but more likely because Chips was, pound for pound, the most badass soldier in the war.
For his heroic actions, Chips was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart, though he was later stripped of his medals because he was a dog. After the war, he returned home to his family and a shitty Disney movie.
"Thanks guys, this is way better than the medals."
Endal the Labrador Retriever
Endal was a British Labrador Retriever that worked as a service dog helping a Gulf War veteran named Allen Parton, who had very serious head injuries that made him unable to create new memories, like Guy Pierce in Memento.
Endal was name "Dog of the Millennium." If you are wondering why, well, it was because he was goddamn genius even by human standards. Since the severely brain damaged and wheelchair-bound Parton could do virtually nothing for himself, Endal had to learn a lot of things that, quite frankly, dogs have no business doing.
He could get stuff from grocery store shelves, he learned Parton's PIN number and could use the ATM machine, he was able to operate the washing machine, fetched numerous different household items based on specific gestures and defeated Contra III all the way through without stopping. He could also use the elevator, open train doors and, like most dogs, get the paper.
And according to Endal, Jr., he was the world's greatest dad.
In case that wasn't awesome enough, he managed to make national headlines in 2001 when Allen Parton was hit by a car and thrown from his wheelchair. Endal pulled him to safety and put him into the recovery position, ready for the paramedics. Endal then ran back into the street to get Parton's cell phone...
OK, he wasn't able to call for help on the phone (but man, can you imagine if he had?!?) but he did find a blanket to cover Parton with, and then ran into a nearby hotel, barking until someone figured out what was going on and called for an ambulance.
All right, we had better stop there, since any more compliments toward the dog would apparently prompt people to start sacrificing children to it.
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For more badass facts about man's best friend, check out Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: The Badass Roots of 5 Sissy Dogs and 6 Insane Dog Behaviors Explained by Evolution.
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