Animal Heroism

What animals are capable of

Having a pet means learning the meaning of unconditional love. In return for food and the comfort of a home, most pets will protect their loved ones even at the cost of their own lives.

But some pets are invaluable in helping people. Dogs can be trained to assist people who have physical disabilities. They can be used to find missing people, for search and rescue. Horseback riding has proven beneficial for children with physical or emotional problems. And of course, as animal lovers, we all know the joy of animal companionship.

Accounts of animal heroism

Trakr, a German Shepherd rescue dog, was credited with locating the last human survivor of 9/11. Bob Sessions, rescue worker from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said this about the 9/11 rescue dogs: “If these dogs only knew what a difference they make. Certainly, there’s nothing that can replace the precision of a dog’s nose-and absolutely nothing that can replace a dog’s heart.”

A tribute to these dogs can be found in this video:

A cat named Winnie saved her family from carbon monoxide poisoning. Winnie sensed that something was wrong and woke up her owners with loud meows. They called 911 and the entire family was saved.

A dog who saved another dog’s life is profiled in the video below:

Training animals to react to danger

According to Alan Rabinowitz, director for science and exploration at the Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, animals can sense impending danger by detecting subtle or abrupt shifts in the environment.

“Earthquakes bring vibrational changes on land and in water while storms cause electromagnetic changes in the atmosphere,” he said. “Some animals have an acute sense of hearing and smell that allow them to determine something coming towards them long before humans might know that something is there.” See more: Can Animals Sense Disasters?

Since animals have an innate sense of danger, it can be nurtured so that your pet can warn you of impending danger.

For instance, a dog can be trained to warn its owners of an intruder in the house. To do this, teach your dog when it is appropriate to bark and when it is not. Reward your dog for barking at unfamiliar vehicles or people. When a dog barks at a family member or friend tell him “no” in a firm voice.

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