With the 2016 Summer Olympics taking place soon, we’ll be having our very own doggy Olympics. As part of this celebration, we’d like to pay tribute to dogs throughout history who achieved incredible feats. The following are some of the most well-known Olympian-worthy dogs.
Balto was a Siberian husky who led his team from Nenana, Alaska to Nome, Alaska for a 1925 serum run. Balto and his team of sled dogs were carrying an antitoxin for diphtheria that would help fight an outbreak of this deadly disease in Nome. Balto led his team through harsh conditions and became a canine celebrity for his bravery. A statue in NYC’s Central Park and a 1995 movie both honored this courageous canine.
Laika is known for being the first animal to orbit Earth in space. This stray dog underwent training in the Soviet space program in the 1950s and was placed aboard Sputnik 2. Although Laika did not survive the trip, her memory has been honored with a monument built close to the facility where she went through training.
Hachiko the Akita gained fame in Odete, Japan, for his unfailing dedication to his owner. Hachiko had a habit of greeting his owner, a Tokyo University professor, at the train station each day after work. When Hachiko’s owner died suddenly at work, Hachiko continued going to the station every day at the same time for 9 years and became known for his loyalty. Bronze statues, an annual ceremony, books and films have all paid tribute to this faithful dog.
More than 300 search and rescue dogs worked tirelessly to look for survivors in New York City when the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. These dogs have been the subject of a documentary, called “Hero Dogs of 9/11.” One dog located a woman trapped in the rubble for 27 hours, saving her life, while a seeing eye dog led his owner to safety down 1,463 steps.
Sinbad joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1938 and served aboard the George W. Campbell. Sinbad ended up serving for 11 years, which included combat during World War II. The mixed-breed dog received a number of medals for his service, including a World War II Victory Medal, a Navy Service Occupation Medal and an American Defense Service Medal.