These stories of hero dogs 2017 will inspire you, but they probably won't surprise you. It's 2017 and we're still wondering what we did to deserve dogs. The list of dogs that saved humans this year is long and the list of hero dogs in 2017 who did incredible things is even longer.
This year's biggest dog heroes showed up in ways you couldn't even make up. One loyal pup stayed with his paralyzed owner for 20 hours, barking and licking his face to keep him alive. Other hero dogs in 2017 survived dog fighting rings and the South Korean meat market, only to turn around and help humans get through their own problems. Why? They are dogs, Earth's most perfect creature (see these dog Snapchats for proof).
There were police dogs who took bullets for their partners, brave canines who ran into burning buildings or deep water to rescue other animals, and resourceful dogs who figured out how to save themselves. After you read through these news stories about dogs saving humans in 2017, you'll probably want to stick a few treats in your pocket so you can hand them out to random dogs you see on the street. They probably deserve them.
For many who were scarred by the carnage and trauma of the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, momentary relief came in the form of kind, brown eyes, wet noses, and scratchy licks on the cheek. Yes, a brigade of Golden Retrievers.
The comfort dogs, along with their 30 human handlers, are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs unit – a group that visits victims of disasters and offers a needed respite from the pain associated with trauma.
"Dogs have an incredible sense of when somebody is hurting," Tim Hetzner, president of the charity, told ABC News. "They'll just come and lay themselves into somebody's lap." This small kindness can help people open up, talk about their experiences, and start down the road to recovery.
A Michigan man named Bob was watching television on New Year's Eve when he decided to quickly run outside in his pajamas to pick up a few logs for his fire. This quick errand turned into a 20-hour near death experience when he slipped and broke his neck.
Paralyzed from the injury, Bob screamed for help, but no one heard him – except for his loyal Golden Retriever, Kelsey. For 20 hours, Kelsey endured the 24-degree weather with Bob and barked for help. To keep her owner warm, she spread herself across Bob's body and licked his face to make sure he didn't lose consciousness.
"She kept me warm and alert," Bob told reporters. "I knew I had to persevere through this and that it was my choice to stay alive. She was letting out this screeching howl that alerted my neighbor. He found me at 6:30 PM on New Year's Day." Bob was rushed to the hospital and is only alive today because of his dog's loyalty and attentiveness.
Adorable K-9 Officer Casper was shot in May 2017 in Jupiter, FL, after deputies encountered a man wanted in connection with a robbery. The man, Philip O'Shea, had an extensive criminal history and tried to flee from the officers. The deputies pursued O'Shea, who crashed his vehicle. There was a shootout and O'Shea was fatally struck, but not before he shot K-9 Casper. The very good boy took a bullet meant for his partner.
K-9 Casper was immediately rushed into surgery and thankfully survived the ordeal. He is now hopefully enjoying all of the treats and belly rubs that a hero of his stature deserves.
When you're fortunate enough to escape from a building that is burning down, you usually don't run back into the building. But in 2017, heroic 10-year-old Pomeranian Sandy paid this advice no mind and ran back to hang with her best bud, a 13-year-old blind Chihuahua named Tina, as their owner's house in Hertfordshire, England, was burning down. Their owner, Lily Ifield, was already outside when Sandy ran back in. She was devastated.
"They were only going to come out together," said firefighter Pat Steadman. Luckily, both dogs were saved by the rescue team.