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Heart-Tugging Tales of Heroic Dogs


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With their faithful, adoring, and doting natures, all dogs are heroes to their owners. Some leave a trail of spectacular tales, exemplified by these beloved pups.

  1. Rin Tin Tin, War Survivor

In 1918, an army corporal found a 5-day-old German Shepherd on a French battlefield. After the war, Corporal Lee Duncan brought Rin Tin Tin back with him to the states. In 1922, while performing at a local dog show, Rin was discovered by a movie scout.

Rin’s acting career encompassed 26 movies, prompting thousands of fan letters. The money his films accrued kept Warner Brothers from going bankrupt. In 1930, Rin supplied the sound effects for his radio show. Two years later, at age 14, he died while tenderly held in the lap of actress Jean Harlow.

  1. Bobbie, Tireless Traveler

This Shepherd/Collie mix was two years old when separated from his family. In August 1923, Bobbie disappeared after a dog attack. His owners, a couple and their two daughters, had been visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. Despite an extensive search, Bobbie remained lost, and the heartbroken family resumed driving. Back home in Silverton, Oregon, they continued mourning the loss of their cherished friend.

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Imagine their awe when he returned home, half a year later! The dog’s bedraggled appearance and nubby nails were evidence of plodding the 2,551-mile trek. Bobbie had trudged across desert, valleys, rivers, and mountains during a brutal winter. The Humane Society of Portland surmised that Bobbie had followed his family’s scent, left at gas stations where they’d parked.

Bobbie lived a short life of six years, dying in 1927. Buried in a Portland pet cemetery, Rin Tin Tin paid tribute to him by placing a wreath on his grave.

  1. Titina, Arctic Flyer

This Fox Terrier began life as a starving stray, wandering the streets of Rome. In 1925, after sighting Umberto Nobile, the scrawny pup caught up with him. Nobile was an Italian explorer and pilot. Begging for attention, Titina’s forlorn eyes compelled Nobile to adopt her.

In 1926, Titina accompanied him on an Arctic expedition, flying over the North Pole. Throughout her life, Titina never left the pilot’s side, despite her aversion for flying.

  1. Sergeant Stubby, Soldier

This Pit Bull Terrier was rescued as a homeless pup, nosing through garbage in New Haven, Connecticut. Found on the grounds of Yale University, he was taken in by an Army division, training on campus for World War I combat.

Stubby quickly earned his stripes, joining marching maneuvers and saluting officers with his paw. During the war, Stubby served on 17 battlefronts.

He sniffed out poisons and barked warnings. He smelled enemies poised for ground attacks. Stubby alerted his company to wounded soldiers and forestalled a German spy. Look for a movie portrayal of Sergeant Stubby, due for release in April 2018.

  1. Rupee, Mountaineer

This Desi breed was dying of starvation when spotted at a dump by Joanne Lefson, visiting India from South Africa. After hobbling over to Joanne, the 8-month-old waif collapsed. Unable to resist adopting him, she fed him a high-protein diet, by which Rupee recovered his strength.

A seasoned hiker, Joanne had trekked world-famous landmarks with her dog Oscar, alerting the world to the plight of strays. In October 2013, after Oscar died, Joanne resumed the cause in his honor. This time, Rupee was at her side, on a climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. It took 10 days to reach the base, at a soaring elevation of 17,000 feet. Now, Rupee continues Oscar’s work, raising awareness of orphaned dogs.

Loving Legacies

The lives of these five dogs testify to the power of canine devotion. The message of Rupee, Titina, Bobbie, Stubby, and Rin Tin Tin is clear. Love is supremely wondrous, the strongest force in the world!

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