Most of us think of dogs as playful and obedient family pets, but the truth is that these loyal fur friends are capable of doing a lot more than what we usually give them credit for. If you look at the some of the most famous dogs in history, you’d be surprised at the true potential of these loving animals.
From saving lives on the battlefield and helping servicemen in times of trouble to gracing the silver screen, assisting in scientific discoveries, and even going on space missions – the real capabilities of these canine companions are limited only by your imagination.
Read on as we revisit some of the most famous dogs in history who have left their paw-prints for years to follow.
Most of us know Toto as the canine friend of the lead character, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. But while Toto might be just a fictional character, the dog who originally played the role was far from it. The actual name of this famous dogs that the Cairn Terrier that the world came to know as Toto was Terry. She was the personal pet of Carl Spitz, a German immigrant who worked as a dog trainer for Hollywood. He adopted Terry after she was abandoned as a puppy. Terry was casted in a total of 17 other films and earned laurels for her acting. She received up to $125 a week for her skills – that equals around $2,200 in today’s pay rate!
While he might be ‘one of’ the most famous dogs in history, Rin Tin Tin, also known as Rinty, is undoubtedly the most famous in his breed. He was a German Shepherd dog who was found by an American soldier in the war-ravaged France during WWI. After moving to the U.S. with his new owner, Rinty went on to become a highly successful canine celebrity. He starred in almost 30 films, many of which were centered solely on him. His films grossed so high that he is credited for saving the Warner Bros. Studios from bankruptcy.
Chips was a heroic war dog who was specially trained for the U.S. army. He served in the 3rd Infantry Division and proved his fierce bravery and undying loyalty by assisting fellow soldiers both on and off the battlefield. His most notable service includes his facilitation in capturing ten Italian prisoners in one day. Earlier the same day, he also saved his handler and himself from the enemy after they were captured by armed hostiles. Chips broke free from the bounds and attacked the gunmen all on his own.
Lassie a fictional Rough Collie who was featured in a short story that was later expanded to full-length novel titled Lassie Come Home. Though the character was originally female, it was played by a male Collie named Pal. Pal’s acting skills were so highly praised that he was casted in seven other films. What’s more is that since his death in 1958, all Lassie roles have gone to his descendants.
If you have been to the Central Park in New York City, you probably already know about Balto from the statue of this iconic pup. Balto was a service dog who earned worldwide fame after he successfully completed a near-impossible delivery for medical goods in 1925. The supplies required by patients in diphtheria had to be transported from Anchorage all the way to Nome, Alaska. Balto was appointed as the lead sled dog and had to work his way through the thick snow for seven days at a stretch before making it to the city safely.
It’s not hard to come across seeing eye dogs these days, but Buddy is the one who can rightfully be called the pioneer in this field. Buddy was a female German Shepherd who was specially trained in Switzerland to help blind people in day to day tasks. She was given to Morris Frank in 1928 who was so thankful for his new fur friend that he decided to create The Seeing Eye program to help others like him find the much-needed support through these loving pawtners.
Smoky was a small Yorkshire terrier who, like all dogs, had a big heart for her owner. However, what sets her apart from ordinary dogs is her service during the second World War. While she was predominantly appointed as an entertainer to uplift the spirits of the soldiers, Smoky didn’t shy away from proving her bravery whenever an opportunity came up. She saved the life of her actual owner several times by alerting him of any enemies hiding around and at times, even of incoming fire. It’s fair to say that despite her small size, Smoky had a far bigger impact on American history. She also has an honorary statue near her old home in Lakewood, Ohio.
Everyone knows Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon, but do you know that various animals including cats, monkeys, and even dogs have been to space in the past? Laika was a stray dog from Moscow who holds the title for being the first dog to enjoy space travel. She was launched by the Russians aboard the Sputnik 2 satellite (hence the nickname Muttnik) in November 1957. Sadly, however, Laika’s trip was just a test for sending the first man in space – the Russian scientists had no plans of bringing the pooch back and Laika died alone in space.
Gidget is another popular canine movie star who rose to fame in the early 2000s. If you have seen Reese Witherspoon’s famous comedy film, Legally Blonde, you have already seen Gidget. This renowned chihuahua is also known for her role as the mascot for Taco Bell. GIdget’s advertisements were such a massive hit that she was nicknamed the Taco Bell Chihuahua.
The famous dogs in history prove that our canine companions can not only change lives but also the alter the course of history through their selfless love, exceptional bravery, and of course, canine loyalty.
by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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