What Makes Dogs So Heroic?

Dogs are amazing animals.

They can make you laugh, listen to your problems, go for a run with you, swim in the ocean with you, or just lounge around and watch your favorite TV show. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors and personalities.

Although there are dogs that go hunting with their masters both for sport and for food, most dogs don’t hunt for their meals any more. They know their humans will provide them with food, water and shelter. Dogs know their humans are there to help them if they’re hurt.

On the flip side, many people end up thanking their dogs for saving their lives, with documented stories of dogs saving their humans from rattlesnakes, mountain lions and even alligators.

Saving People from Burning Buildings and Frigid Waters

It’s not unusual to see stories of dogs saving families from fires. Even actor John Wayne’s wife and daughter were saved from a fire in their home years ago when the family Dachshund woke Mrs. Wayne and alerted her to the fire.

Dogs have carried babies from burning buildings by their diapers, and grabbed children by their clothing to keep them from running out in front of moving cars. They have knocked larger humans out of the way of careening vehicles. Dogs have dived into rivers and lakes to save people from drowning. Dogs have saved their humans from burning cars, bitter cold and flood waters, either by directly assisting the person or getting other people to help. Dogs will awaken entire families to get them out of a house on fire or one that has a carbon monoxide leak. Dogs obviously comprehend there is danger, or they wouldn’t try so hard to get their families out.

Why will a dog put his own life in danger to save his human family?

Since dogs don’t talk, it’s hard to know what’s going through their minds. Dogs act largely on instinct. The instinct to guard their pack is strong in many dogs and humans are most companion dogs’ pack. If they sense a danger their humans seem to be oblivious to, they’ll warn their humans, take the danger on themselves, or both; whatever seems appropriate to their dog minds at the time.

Some dogs, like the K9 corps in the service or the K9 patrols with police departments, are trained to react to threats. But even untrained dogs want to keep their humans from harm.

Dogs are social animals. The bond they have with their families is very strong. They are loyal beyond measure. They have proven many times over there is nothing they won’t do to help their families. But why would dogs put their own lives in danger to save their humans?

It could be that, although the dogs are aware there’s a threat, they may not realize how dangerous the situation is. The dog knows fire is dangerous, and knows it could hurt his family, but he may not comprehend that the fire could kill him.

Whether your dog realizes the extent of the danger or not, he is there to protect you however he can. The knowledge that your dog would sacrifice his safety—maybe even his own life—to save yours is just one more reason your dog is one of the best friends you’ll ever have.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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