This article is part two to the first article about dogs who are saving lives, starting with the fourth way pets are helping us humans:
- Police Dogs
A large, solid black dog strolled in through the streets of Connecticut. Her tail was waving furiously, and her tongue was drooling out of her mouth. A man named Trooper Douglas Lancelot walked next to her.
The dog, a Labrador Retriever named Mattie, stopped in her tracks. She tilted her head and began sniffing. Trooper smiled as he watched Matti’s nose twitch.
Matti began to trot at a faster pace, heading for somewhere in particular. She weaved through a light crowd, ducked her head back and forth, and began racing toward someone in particular – a criminal.
Trooper ran about onlookers and found Mattie, who was barking at someone nonchalantly walking through the ground. Trooper took the man to his police car and put him into custody.
Searching the person, police forces identified accelerants in his clothing. These accelerants were meant to be used in arsonist fires. Trooper congratulated his dog, Mattie, who had made this arrest possible.
Mattie was the first operating dog who could detect accelerants. Through a program, she had been trained to sniff out arsonist devices and was assigned to the Connecticut State Police.
Mattie proved to be very successful. In fact, researchers found out that she could sniff out accelerants more accurately than instruments. She was truly remarkable. Mattie was retired from her duties after 11 years of service.
Search and Rescue Dogs
Appollo, a German Shepherd dog, charged toward an ominous pile of smoking rising 1,300-feet above him.
It was 9/11/2001, and the smoke was spewing from the Twin Towers, in New York City.
Debris rained down and shattered onto the streets. Glass poured from the sky like hail during a blizzard. Cries and moans echoed all across New York, emitted from people who were praying for someone to help.
That is exactly what Appollo did.
However, while charging toward the Twin Towers, Appollo slid into waist deep water. He paddled across the puddles and sprang onto dry rubble. Appollo’s handler, Peter Davis, followed. While wading through the water, Peter saw Appollo abruptly disappear from view.
Appollo had slipped into a deep hole, landing with a thud. He, however, stumbled to his paws and lunged out – on fire…literally.
“He was like a big fireball,” recalled Peter. Apollo, with flames immersing his coat, continued on to the Twin Towers, not even realizing he was on fire. Peter, fortunately, was able to call the dog to stop. He caught up with the dog and somehow stopped the burning before the coat was completely ruined.
With the fire extinguished, Appollo resumed his diligent work. He dove into piles of rubble and searched for person after person. Hours went by, and no one was found.
Eventually, Peter called Appollo away from the chaos at the Twin Towers without uncovering any survivors.
Appollo received the Dickin Medal on behalf of all the search and rescue dogs at the World Trade Center anyway. Roselle and Salty, who had guided blind people out, were also awarded.
Appollo represents the dozens of search and rescue dogs in action today – who really are saving lives.