A Labor Day Salute to Six Hard Working Dogs
Every Labor Day, we like to celebrate the working canine! Dogs have been working it for thousands of years and have been a key part of fire, police and military units as well as trusted aids to the blind. Dogs have been man’s best friend in both times of war and peace, in health and in illness and increasingly, they’re being trained to help their human friends in truly innovative ways. Last year, we highlighted some of these amazing pooches, who assisted cancer patients, provided therapy to soldiers with PTSD and bravely helped with bomb detection as part of the investigation after the Boston Marathon bombing.
This Labor Day, we salute a group of six extraordinary dogs who use their skills in some very surprising ways.
Joshua Kelly, a student at Idaho State University working towards a degree in geology, had battled epilepsy his entire life. His trusted black pit pull, Cletus, was an important buddy, who accompanied him on a two-mile walk and bus ride each day to classes. When Joshua passed away due to complications from his illness in February, it was Cletus who took the the stage on graduation day to receive Joshua’s bachelor of science diploma. Here’s the Idaho Falls ABC affiliate’s account of Cletus‘ graduation walk for his owner here:
JJ is a shelter dog from North Carolina who was rescued by a local Eyes Ears Nose & Paws organization and trained as a service dog.
JJ is now an American Humane Society Hero Dog Award nominee for his heroic work with KK, a 5 year old girl living with a rare disorder called Mastocytosis, and often suffers from sometimes life-threatening reactions to anything from the weather or exercize. JJ’s amazing sense of smell can help detect her reactions and this super pooche’s monitoring skills were enlisted by doctors to accompany them in the operating room when KK needed surgery. Thanks to JJ, this little girl can attend school and live a more nor
A New Mexico man, Charles Sasser, had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease began to lose his speech and had trouble forming complete sentences. But the family’s beloved dog, Roscoe, always a comfort, actually got Mr. Sasser to speak. This video shows one of the extraordinary encounters. (The Telegraph).
Another American Human Society hero award nominee and shelter rescue success story is Kai, a black lab who was trained by the San Antonio, Texas Fire Department (after being retrieved from an Illinois shelter). A State Farm Arson Dog program trainer took Kai on as a pupil and since then, she has assisted with more than 200 fire investigations and also teaches school children about fire safety as a Fire Department ambassador.
Peggy Bennett, a first grade teacher in Minnesota, has a terrific helper in the classroom: Coulter, the Shepard. She uses flash cards with Coulter, who has learned to respond to the printed commands, like “paw,” “sit,” and “down.” Coulter then follows the commands on the cards. Bennett has Coulter in the classroom to connect with the students and to inspire all kids in the classroom to practice their reading and to instill good habits.
Patella is a gorgeous black Labrador who can “be a bit of a goofball,” but she’s also one of five dogs honored this year with a Canine Excellence Award by the American Kennel Club
Patella is a veteran of numerous disaster relief missions — she has a knack for finding humans — in Colorado, including last year’s terrible Lower North Fork Fire. She made three missions to the Phillippines after the November typhoon to help rescue some of the missing. Her extraordinary dexterity means she can navigate through rubble and even climb up and down ladders. And, it seems Patella is passing her skills down to new generations; one of her recent pups is being trained to follow in her mother’s footstepss.
We’re so fortunate to have these talented canines on our side and working hard to make our society safer, smarter and healthier.