We know that dogs are special but some are extra-special. Read the inspiring tales of 8 top dogs, true pioneer dogs, accompanied by stunning posters…
The Inspiring Tales of Eight Top Dogs
Author G John Cole, Illustrations by Canine Cottages
Looking after your dog can be a heck of a lot of work – but of course it’s a deal that you’ll gladly accept. The average pooch more than repays his costs with love, companionship, and those inimitable moments of pure personality that seem conjured up from nowhere.
But some dogs go above and beyond the standard owner-pet contract, or even skip the owner part altogether, in the name of achieving rare excellence as a dog. These are the pioneer dogs, the hounds that went where no dog had gone before – in their behavior, in their loyalty, even into space!
- Rupee (Nepal, 2013)
Indian street dog Rupee made the headlines a few years back when he was plucked from poverty by a South African tourist, who later took him to Mount Everest, where he was the first dog to officially make it to Base Camp.
Despite the hardcore nature of the trek, Rupee apparently bounded ahead of his mountain-climbing colleagues, setting a fine example for other street dogs hoping to find a friendlier pack with whom to run – and to potential adopters of the world’s numerous strays.
- Laika (Outer Space, 1957)
Laika made it further still, beating humankind into space on the Russian-built Sputnik shuttle in 1957.
A stray like Rupee, Laika was chosen for her street-smarts; or at least for her tenacity and survival instinct. In fact, all of the dogs that the Soviets sent into space were street dogs, chosen for just this reason.
When she made it into orbit, “headlines yelped such barbaric new words as pupnik and pooch-nik, sputpup and woofnik,” according to a contemporaneous article in Time magazine.
- Titina (North Pole, 1926)
Another canine heroine was Titina, the fox terrier. She was the first dog to make it to the North Pole, and her tenacity also came in handy – for scaring off an approaching polar bear.
If you think that sounds brave, consider also that the little lady also had to share a cramped cabin with sixteen human males aboard the dirigible Norge in order to get there. No wonder she had some steam to let off at that bear!
- Ashley (Los Angeles, 1975)
Ashley Whippet made his impact in the world of sports. Entering the stage during a pitch invasion at a nationally broadcast baseball game in 1974 when his owner decided their regular game of Frisbee needed a bigger audience, his stunning performance inspired the founding of the annual Frisbee Disc Canine Championship – derivations of which continue today.
- Rin Tin Tin (France, 1917)
Perhaps one of the few hounds who can rival Laika for fame is Rin Tin Tin – one of the most memorable faces of 1920s Hollywood. But not everyone knows that the German shepherd was a military dog first of all – he was rescued from the killing fields of World War I, after which Tinseltown must’ve been a breeze!
- Sergeant Stubby (Washington DC, 1918)
Sergeant Stubby, on the other hand, chose to continue his military career into the 1920s, and became the first dog to be promoted to Sergeant for his dedication.
If today he’s not such a household name as Rin Tin Tin, Sergeant Stubby was known to millions of Americans at the time of his honor, receiving write-ups in the New York Times and going on to make special appearances at veterans’ shows.
- Bobbie (Oregon, 1923)
Back to the family realm, and young Bobbie brought a tear to the eyes of his owners and the news-reading public alike when, back in 1979, he miraculously made it home after going AWOL during a family car trip.
What was so miraculous was that he’d last been seen 2800 miles from home, and the journey took him a road movie-worthy six months!
- Red Dog (Western Australia, 1978)
And Red Dog was another wandering doggo – but with no home to return to. Although the kelpie/cattle dog cross had a few temporary ‘owners’ over the years, he was his own dog, and is famous on account of the number of friends he made as he drifted across western Australia looking for adventure.
These stunning commemorative posters were commissioned by the team at Canine Cottages. Which pioneer story inspired you the most?
About author: G. John Cole
John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. He’s a digital nomad specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.