More than man’s best friend

It’s no secret that our furry companions are loyal, loving, and they inarguably make the best life companions. Over the years, some of them have gone the extra mile to prove their commitment. In fact, some even made history for being top dogs thanks to their acts of courage and character.
By Yong Cindy
Published on Monday, 30 October 2017

Take Rupee the Mongrel for example. Rupee became the first dog to travel to Everest base camp with his owner, Joanne Lefson, at a towering altitude of 17,000 feet over a span of 10 days. Their one-of-a-kind friendship began when Joanne found Rupee, then a starving puppy, on the streets of Ladakh, India and took him home to South Africa. Months later, they made a trip back to India to embark on a mountain trek up Everest.

Another fellow Mongrel, Laika, also known as the Soviet space dog, made headlines for becoming the first living creature to orbit the Earth. The stray pup from the streets of Moscow was selected by Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on November 3, 1957. Talk about an out-of-this-world record!

Back to Earth, a little brown and white Fox Terrier named Titina accompanied her owner on another of his Arctic expeditions and emerged as the first pooch to ever reach the chilly North Pole. Here’s a fun fact: The fiercely loyal pooch stood only 10 inches high, weighed about 12 pounds and once barked down a polar bear.

When it comes to sports, Ashley the Whippet was quite the stunner. In 1974, the small greyhound lookalike and his owner brought a national baseball game to a complete stop by dashing onto the field and performing frisbee stunts. The duo became celebrities overnight and inspired the annual Frisbee Disc Canine Championship.

Speaking of celebrities, the name Rin Tin Tin definitely rings a bell. American soldier Lee Duncan found the furry star of the silver screen on a French battlefield. Rin Tin Tin got his big break when starred in The Warner Bros.’ film Where the North Begins. Rumour has it that the movie actually saved the studio from bankruptcy.

Offscreen, a seemingly ordinary Boston Terrier was made the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment (United States). Sergeant Stubby became the only dog to be nominated for the rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat. His bravery became the subject of an upcoming film said to be released next year.

If there was an award for the bravest and most loyal dog, Bobbie the Mongrel would win hands down. The poor pup got lost during a family vacation, and then traveled over a record-breaking 2,500 miles to get home to his fur-mily. Bobbie’s determined, undying spirit earned him a new nickname, ‘Bobbie the Wonder Dog’. Till today, no other canines have traveled that much of a distance.

(Photos credit: Canine Cottage)

Another notable pooch is Red Dog the Kelpie. Following the death of his second owner, Red Dog became well-known for his many solo travels through Western Australia’s Pilbara region that a statue was erected in his memory. Today, the statue can be found in Dampier, one of the towns which he frequented.

To read more about these courageous dogs, check out Canine Cottage's article here.