Photo by CBS Sports
It’s safe to say that dogs and people share a special devotion to each other. Dogs work together with us in so many ways as extra hands (or paws) on the farm, police partners on a beat, or even as our eyes and ears to the world. Everyone who has a dog can tell you about the unconditional love they have with their pup, but there are some friendships that stand out as shining examples.
In 2011, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson died when his Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. 1,500 mourners showed up to Tumilson’s funeral in his hometown of Rockford, Iowa, including his Labrador retriever, Hawkeye. The hero’s chocolate Lab approached the flag-draped casket, dropped with a heavy sigh, and remained next to his fallen friend through the service.
One of the most famed examples of loyalty is Hachiko, the Akita from Japan. Hachiko was known for his daily routine of meeting his guardian, Ueno, every afternoon at the local train station. But one day, Ueno did not show up after having suffered a brain hemorrhage at work. He died without getting a chance to say goodbye to Hachiko. But for the next 9 years, Hachiko would make the trip to the train station at the exact same time to wait for his master that would never return. The Akita had a profound effect on other commuters, and in 1934 a bronze statue of Hachiko was placed at Shibuya Station to commemorate the dog and his devotion to his guardian. The statue is still a popular site to visit in Tokyo.
On September 11th, 2001, a blind computer technician named Omar Eduardo Rivera, was working on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center along with his guide dog Dorado. After one of the planes crashed into their tower, Omar unleashed Dorado in the stairwell and ordered the dog to go so he’d have a chance to escape. But a few minutes later, Omar felt Dorado nuzzling his legs, returning to his guardian’s side. For the next hour, Dorado and a fellow coworker helped Omar down 70 flights of stairs. Soon after they escaped, the tower collapsed. Omar said if it weren’t for his faithful dog, he would have never survived.