We’ve been watching the Secret Life of Dogs series. It’s heartwarming to see on screen story after story of what we have always known in our heart; dogs are amazing creatures. And even more, to see the exceptional ways they have of improving or even saving our lives. If you think the exceptional nature of dogs ends with them learning to sit and shaking his paw, read on.
From a Pack of Wolves
Yes, your cute and cuddly Fido is a descendant of the fierce and wild wolf. More specifically, the ancestor of the gray wolf. If we were being specific, we could say that we share a home with a domesticated wolf. According to a DNA analysis published in 1997, the transformation of wolves to domesticated dogs took place about 130,000 years ago.
This is in contrast to a long-held myth that humans domesticated dogs to serve as guards or companions. It suggests, according to some experts, that dogs found a niche to exploit in early human society and were able to get humans to take them in out of the cold. They trained us, not the other way around.
Sensing Low Blood Sugar
If you’re a diabetic, or know one, you understand that low blood sugar is problematic. It may even result in a trip to the hospital.
A dog has an exceptional sense of smell. They can smell into the past and smell parts per trillion. This incredible sense of small makes them innately able to smell disease. In turn, the scent of low blood sugar. In fact, a properly trained dog can alert its owner up to 30 minutes before they begin to feel any symptoms. Story after story of this exceptional service can be found with a quick Google search.
The Newfoundland dog is nicknamed the lifeguard dog. With their size of up to 150 pounds and 28 inches at the shoulders, these massive animals are also gentle. For years they have been bravely and enthusiastically saving swimmers in distress.
For example, in Italy, more than 300 of this breed are on duty to keep watch over the millions of beach visitors each year. And each year they rescue about 3,000 people with their human’s help. This breed of dog will jump in by himself and come back by himself finding the safest landing point and currents.
In 2012, a Newfoundland was recorded pulling over 10,000 lbs. of stationary material. That makes pulling a distressed swimmer seem pretty easy, eh?
Bravery. Whether it is their need to please humans, or simply an instinct, we admire the exceptional nature of dogs who rescue in extreme conditions. Breeds such as St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and even Border Collies are trained for avalanche rescue teams.
Dating back to the 1800’s, a St. Bernard named Barry is credited with saving a young boy asleep in a cavern of ice. This boy surely would have died if Barry hadn’t carried him on his back out of the cavern, through the snow, and to people who would care for him.
In 2000 in Canada, a Lab/Border Collie Mix named Keno rescued a lift operator from an avalanche. The operator had been buried under the snow for 20 minutes before Keno found and rescue him.
Exceptional Nature of Dogs
We could go on and on. There are so many amazing attributes of dogs. Watching and learning more about them is making us look at our own with a bit more respect and admiration.