While Labor Day may be rooted in the history of American workers’ struggles to gain us the rights we enjoy in the workplace today, we here at Delightful Doggies also want to remind everyone about the dogs who work for us on this special day!
There are many kinds of working dogs: law enforcement K-9s, military dogs, service dogs for vets and the disabled, therapy dogs that visit hospitals and nursing homes, search-and-rescue dogs, and dogs that still help us with all the things they were originally bred to do, like herding animals on farms, providing protection and assisting with hunting. We’ve been able to work alongside these amazing creatures to gain the things we need and want, and their service sometimes goes unrecognized or under-appreciated. Let’s take a look at a few different working dogs and their stories to see just how much they help us out.
- Sergeant Stubby was a member of the 102nd infantry in WWI and alerted his fellow soldiers to mustard gas, impending attacks by the Germans, participated in 17 battles, and even caught a German soldier literally by the seat of his pants. Of course, he also lifted morale among the soldiers by being the wonderfully endearing and loyal pup he was. Stubby was what’s commonly known as a pitbull, in the days when the breed was revered for its abilities and its status as the perfect All-American dog. (Boy, do we need to remember dogs like Stubby these days!) He was the most decorated war dog of WWI and the only one to be promoted Sergeant through combat.
- Benji. I could have listed Rin-Tin-Tin or Lassie, or any of a vast number of actor dogs, but I chose Benji because I personally was obsessed with him as a child and because he was a mixed-breed (or mutt) that had been rescued from a shelter. Director Joe Camp intentionally got a shelter dog to showcase the problem of so many quality dogs overcrowding shelters, and to promote adoption of these wonderful dogs.
- Trakr, a search-and-rescue German Shepherd who located the last survivor of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
- Archie, a Newfoundland that acts as a therapy dog for CASA Pacifica, an organization that helps abused, neglected and at-risk children and their families. Archie provides love and comfort to children who need it the most!
- Endal, a Labrador retriever who has received worldwide recognition for his work as a service dog, including being the most decorated dog in the world. He knew more than 100 cues to help his owner, Allen Parton, who had suffered serious head injuries from the Gulf War.
Every day dogs are helping us stay safe and healthy. Even dogs who aren’t registered working or service dogs–your dogs!–are helping you to live a happier, fuller life. Their unconditional love and loyalty, paired with their amazing senses and intuitions, make them some of our best companions.
Here’s to the working dogs this Labor Day!
Owner, Delightful Doggies