All Things Dog

Dogs That Helped Change History

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Here’s a bold statement, but it’s one that every dog owner knows to be true: Dogs have the power to change the course of human events. This is demonstrated every day on the small scale of our personal lives. Our dogs give us the comfort, joy, inspiration, love, and loyalty we need to tackle the world, face challenges, and move forward.

On the larger scale of world events, dogs have been major players throughout the centuries. Some of these dogs have achieved fame. Many others remain anonymous. But they have all contributed, in their own way, to changing the course of history.

Anonymous dogs we shouldn’t forget

We may never know the names of the first domesticated dogs that helped early farmers round up cattle and sheep, but their skill assisted in our transition from hunter/gatherers to settled, civilized people. The same can be said for the trained and loyal dogs that accompanied hunters into the field to sniff out, chase down, and point to prey.

Turning to the battlefield, brave dogs have accompanied soldiers into action since at least the time of the Roman Empire. Over the decades, countless dogs whose names we may never know have been there to help lead the charge and comfort fighters. In more recent times, some "dogs of war" have attained hero status. Click here to read about these canine war heroes.

Dogs in the historical spotlight

Dog lovers should band together to demand that every “History of the World” book that’s written contain information about all the dogs that have contributed to world events. This would make those books longer, but much more fun to read! Here are just a few of the dogs you would read about in such a “canine aware” history book.

Elephants beware: It is said that Alexander the Great’s dog Peritas fearlessly bit a charging elephant—part of the attacking Persian army—thereby saving his world-conquering master.

Dog bites pope and helps usher in the Church of England: Cardinal Wolsey, acting as an emissary of Henry VIII, brought his dog Urian with him to an important meeting with Pope Clement VII. The Cardinal’s mission was to ask the pope to annul the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. During the meeting, Urian—showing a lack of diplomatic sensitivity—bit the pope. This understandably angered the pope, who refused to grant the annulment. The only divorce that came from this meeting was the one between England and the Roman Church.

The doctor’s dog will see you now: The doctor in this case was Sigmund Freud, father of psychotherapy. But did you know that Freud (and his pet chow) helped create the therapy-dog movement? Realizing the calming influence of dogs, Freud often let his pooch Jofi attend therapy sessions. The dog helped patients relax and discuss their dreams, fears, and secrets.

Sputnik’s canine passenger: The first critter to be launched in a rocket was a Russian stray named Laika. Sadly, there was no ticker-tape parade in the streets of Moscow for this out-of-this-world dog because she died during the mission. But she was still the first earth creature to make it that far from our home planet.

Imagine what future events may be changed thanks to the influence of dogs. Picture this scenario: A tense meeting at the United Nation’s Security Council. Suddenly the doors swing open and a group of happy, fun-loving, adorable canines enters the chamber. The delegates stop their bickering to pet the dogs. They immediately feel better, start smiling, forget their bitterness, and the world breathes a sigh of relief. “Pooch Power” to the rescue!

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