Dog Heros

By Liz, on vacation from the day job this week and loving the freedom!

IMG_8704I knew sooner or later Shaggy would start getting invited to do events, and I would be optional. (No, I’m not jealous at all! I know she’s much cuter.) Anyway, we were delighted when the lovely Kim Mather at the Guilford Smith Memorial Library here in South Windham invited Shaggy to be a reading dog this summer.

Of course, Shaggy jumped at the chance. She loves attention, and especially loves being the star of the show. So last week, she got to go to her very first solo event as the library’s “Dog Hero.”

Shaggy the hero dog.

If we weren’t excited already, being billed as a hero made the event that much better. Shaggy was thrilled with the title, as she’s worked very hard taking classes and has a goal of being an official therapy dog. She’s already visited hospitals, nursing homes and schools and brought smiles to a lot of faces with her sweet personality. And to have the library recognize the important role dogs play in the community is huge.

The craft table while kids waited their turns to read.
The craft table while kids waited their turns to read.

That got us thinking about all the hero dogs out in the world. There are so many of them, from police K-9s, to military dogs, to members of a family who do something extraordinary. We read about them all the time – the pup who alerted its family to a fire and saved everyone, or the dog who rescued a human sister or brother from an attacking animal. We loved the recent story about the dogs who saved each other’s lives when they were spotted in a shelter hugging each other and were promptly rescued. The stories are everywhere.

Green Eggs and Ham
Reading Green Eggs and Ham.

I’ve wanted Shaggy to be a therapy dog for a while, but never more than after the Newtown tragedy. The dogs who helped the community heal are true heroes, and they brought a level of comfort that sometimes can’t be reached even with a human counselor or therapist. Seeing the smiles Shaggy can bring to people’s faces just entering a room makes me feel good – and I know it makes her happy. She’s bringing good to the world just by being here.

So kudos to my local library for recognizing dog heroes like Shaggy. And hats off to all of you dog heroes out there. Keep up the good work.

Readers, do you have a dog hero in your life?

18 Thoughts

  1. My hero dog is Power Paws Kendall. Kendall is my assistance dog who has been helping me by performing tasks like opening doors and picking things up off the floor. His favorite chores are recycling and carrying the laundry bag. He can help me balance to stand and sit. He wakes me up in the morning and helps me dress. He keeps me company. He does so many helpful things, but being my friend is the best of all. He loves to do Facebook and has his own page.

      1. Kendall is looking for Shaggy’s page. They have puppy powers, or they could not accomplish all that they do.

  2. How fun for Shaggy! I don’t hang around dogs much, but yesterday I read an article about a small dog (Shaggy size, more or less), who races out after deplaning passengers and finds the person who forgot something on the plane – a cell phone, a child’s toy, whatever. He brings big smiles to the passenger and gets a hug in return.

    Would love to meet Power Paws Kendall one of these days!

  3. We got our Westie Lily when our daughter was a teenager. She hasn’t saved any lives yet but when we were having those teenage moments and everyone was mad, we all still loved Lily. She brought us back together.

  4. Because of my allergies, I’m not a super big pet person, so sadly, I don’t have a dog hero in my life.

    1. Maybe you can sponsor a pup through a shelter or sanctuary, Mark! They could send you pictures and updates and help the dog, all without the dander!

  5. Wonderful, all of it! I have encountered many unselfish and heroic acts by dogs…and cats, by the way, but
    Our last dog was a gentle giant who came to us at five months. They said his mother was a Great Pyrenees but he also looked very much like a Chow/Golden Retriever, so dad must have been a mix of those. Although a puppy, he already bigger than the Beagle(Corgi?) mix female we had.She had been a mom, and so she babied him.He was at a loss when she died of cancer a year later and he never seemed to really grow up, except… He would insist on going into the yard at night when coyotes were near; he would bark them off.
    And once we were running a Bruce Lee movie. There were six German Shepherd guard dogs barking in the movie.He took off off for the door and insisted on going out. He was going to find and chase those aggressive dogs way! He was quite happy with himself when he went out, gave his most ferocious bark and when he came in, he heard them no more.

  6. That’s wonderful, and special congratulations to Shaggy for completing the course with flying colors. The kids must have loved him!

  7. My dog heroes: Jenn (black lab, female), Tonto (chocolate lab, male), Saxon (black lab male), Evan (black lab, male), Raymie (black lab, male), and Jack (yellow lab, male). These are (were) Pat’s dog guides from Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, NY. All wonderful, loving, special dogs. I had the privilege, when I was working from home, to have them as “my dogs” during the day when they retired and she worked with the next dog. But when she came home from work, they were all hers.

    Saxon was especially sensitive to our emotions. When he retired and spent his days with me at home or at my several work sites, I would often say he was “my therapy dog because without him, I’d be in therapy!” He would have made a great therapy dog.

    Evan was released back to the school because he developed a dig fixation after being harassed constantly by a neighbor’s dog in his first year with us. He went on to a successful 2nd career as a drug dog at Kennedy International Airport.

    Jack is still with us and working, although this is probably his last work year. He’s now 10.5, going on 2. Luckily, we should be to keep him with us after retirement, as we’ve done in the past with all our others.

Comments are closed.