THROUGH thick mud, slush and rain, tracker dogs had relentlessly worked hard alongside their handlers and the Search and Rescue team to find the victims in the Batang Kali landslide tragedy.
Their dedication and bravery has even led to many Malaysian netizens urging for these furry rescuers to be awarded medals of honour for their assistance in such an arduous task!
Who are these heroic canines?
Let’s meet six of them, who are SAR Cadaver dogs from the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia.
Though as incredible as it sounds, medals have been awarded to our hardworking canine friends for their hard work and courage in the past across the globe, especially in the United States. Here are four such heroic dogs:
Brutis, Snake Wrangler
When Fran Oreto’s young grandchildren came over to her house in California in 2018, no one would have thought that their happy reunion could have turned tragic, if not for her pet Brutis.
The Golden Retriever was quick to spot the venomous coral snake slithering towards the children and pounced on it before it could strike.
However, Brutis was bitten in the incident but thankfully, this story has a happy ending. After a fraught visit to the veterinarian, a desperate search for the antivenom and a close call where his condition worsened, Brutis made a full recovery.
Brutis was then presented with the National Hero Dog Award for his truly extraordinary feat of heroism.
Guide Dog Roselle
On Sept 11, 2011, Michael Hingston, along with his guide dog Roselle, were on the 78th floor of the burning North Tower, World Trade Centre in New York. After determining that the elevator was no longer safe to use, the yellow Labrador calmly led her owner and 30 other people through the building and down a stairwell of 1,463 steps before pulling Hingston underground into a subway station to safety.
Roselle was awarded the American Hero Dog of the Year Award in 2011, as well as receiving a joint Dickin Medal for her duty. The Dickin was shared with another guide dog, Salty, who had also saved her owner from the collapsing towers; both dogs were later recognised by the British Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
A Boston Terrier or “American Bull Terrier” mutt, Stubby served with the American 102nd Infantry Regiment for 18 months during World War 1. He participated in 17 battles carried out many acts of heroism – alerting members of his unit of mustard gas attacks, finding wounded soldiers in no-man’s-land, and warning other soldiers of incoming artillery shells. His most famous achievement was the capture of a German spy.
At the end of the war, Stubby became “the most decorated war dog of the Great War (World War I)” after earning up to nine medals while serving, and is the only dog to have been promoted to the rank of sergeant through combat. His remains can be seen in the Smithsonian Institution.
Life-Saving Dog, Toby
In 2007, Debbie Parkhurst was in her Maryland home eating an apple when a piece of fruit got lodged in her throat. Parkhurst tried the Heimlich maneuver on herself; unfortunately, it didn’t work.
Toby, her Golden Retriever, was quick to notice her distress and immediately came to her aid. He sprung up and put his paws on her shoulders, pushing her onto the floor, and began to jump up and down on her chest to forcibly remove the morsel. He then licked her face to prevent her from falling unconscious.
Though it still remains a mystery how Toby learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, he was presented with the ASPCA Dog of the Year award for his lifesaving deed.
Compiled by Low Yue Yu