Miranda Tomic

With Warner Brothers' new working dog movie, Max, being released this coming Friday, June 26th, MSA would like to share the stories of 15 real life hero dogs. 


Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Bos and Military Working Dog Cila were partners for almost five years, performing roadside bomb searches in Iraq in addition to domestic security work.  After sustaining a back injury, Sgt. Bos left the army, which meant leaving Cila behind to continue her work.  But about two years later Cila retired, giving Sgt. Bos the opportunity to adopt his old friend.  The two can be seen reuniting above.



Image credit: Global Animal

Image Credit: The Wire
Cairo, a Military Working Dog, gained national recognition for his work with Seal Team Six, which successfully took down Osama Bin Laden back in 2011.  Cairo was fearless in securing the perimeter of the property, allowing other SEALs to enter the house, as well as sniffing for explosives and potential hidden rooms.  Cairo’s heroic work was appreciated by all, with even President Obama saying  “I want to meet that dog”.


Image credit: Hallmark Channel

Lakota served as a Law Enforcement K9 for just short of four years, but achieved incredible successes in that time.  Lakota assisted in 80 arrests, 28 drug seizures, 6 vehicle seizures, the recovery of stolen property, and the seizure of $60,000.  Lakota’s career was cut short following a seemingly fatal car accident, but his spirit and strength allowed him to survive.  Lakota is enjoying his retirement and is remembered and appreciated for his strength and hard work!





Image credit: Dogs of Honor

Sage has worked most of her life as search and rescue dog both locally and globally.  In addition to working on local missing persons searches, Sage has worked on a number of high profile missions. She assisted in the recovery efforts of the 9/11 attacks where she identified one of the attackers remains, spent time deployed in Iraq searching for missing U.S. soldiers, and participated in searches following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Upon being diagnosed and treated for lung cancer, Sage focused her energy on working with cancer patients and survivors, inspiring them with her good spirits and enthusiasm.

Image Credit:  Kinetik K9

Carly, a military working dog, is one of many K-9s that participate in canine blood drives.  These donations can be life savings to other K-9s with the same blood type.  Shout-out to Carly for helping her fellow canine soldiers!


Image credit: Dogs of Honor

Bino is an experienced military working dog and an honored recipient of the military category award at the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards.  Bino worked in narcotics detection and suspect apprehension in the Army for almost 11 years.  Upon his retirement from the Army, he continues to serve.  Bino now works hard to train service dogs that will work with soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Image credit: Knue

Gabe is a retired military working dog. During his career, Gabe had an impressive 26 finds of weapons and explosives (well over the 5-10 average finds by canines).  Pictured above are Gabe and his partner Srgt. First Class Charles Schuck. Gabe and Schuck continue to work together to raise money for the United States War Dog Association. These two are quite the duo!

Image credit: Guide Posts

Ddoc, a retired Belgian Malinois military dog, was a part of many intense and dangerous missions. Ddoc’s heroic work has saved many soldiers, including his own partner Mike in a mortar fire attack. Ddoc suffered from severe PTSD and was adopted once before finding his home with behavioral health therapist Chloe Wells. After much training, patience, and loving reassurance from his new family, Ddoc became healthy enough to work as a therapy dog for soldiers suffering through the same challenges.  He continues to be a hero today!

Image credit: Hero Dogs

Teddy is an ambassador for the Hero Dogs organization. Hero Dogs work as trainers for service dogs that are given to wounded veterans free of charge. Teddy attends expos where he shows veterans the type of services that Hero Dogs can provide. He demonstrates a variety of services for these veterans including fetching crutches and even credit cards. Teddy serves as a model and a represents the entire population of Hero Dogs. He also volunteers as a therapy dog. These dogs never went to battle, but they still serve their country by aiding those who did!

Image credit: NPR
Puzzle, a golden retriever, is a hardworking and intelligent rescue dog.  Rescue dogs like Puzzle are trained in air scent and have the ability to search for and find both the living and the dead.  Puzzle’s owner and partner Susannah Charleson states that Puzzle has never declined to work a search, explaining that these dogs are doing what they truly love, and they are good at it too.  If Puzzle ever showed signs that she did not want to work, Charleson would decline to put her in the field and check to make sure that Puzzle was not sick or injured. Puzzle has worked cases including a disappeared teen and an Alzheimer’s patient who wandered off.

Image Credit: BarkPost

Nico is not a working dog. This unlikely hero was rescued from a shelter earlier this year. At a California beach, a couple of swimmers were caught in a dangerous rip tide. Nico heard the screams from the beach and ran into the water to save them. His owner, a previous lifeguard, was shocked. It was Nico, not a lifeguard that saved the lives of this pair. He is not specially trained but he is a hero!


Image Credit: NJ Pet Community

Lucca, the “Miracle Dog,” is a retired Marine search dog and a true American hero. On his final patrol mission in Afghanistan, Lucca successfully located a live IED, allowing his handler, Corporal Juan Rodriguez, to safely detonate the device. As Lucca was conducting a secondary search, another IED went off. Despite being seriously injured, Lucca rushed to his partner’s side in an attempt to protect him from further harm. Thankfully, Lucca and his human partner both made a full recovery! Lucca is now happily retired, living out his life with Gunnery Sergeant Willingham, his first partner!

Image Credit: Clarion-Ledger

Lucas, a Handcock County Sheriff’s Department K-9, saved his partner after a routine traffic stop took a turn for the worst. Deputy Todd Frazier, was ambushed by three men armed with box cutters. However, thanks a hand held device, Deputy Frazier was able to release Lucas from the patrol car. Lucas, acting as any dedicated partner would, came to his handler’s aid and fought the men off. Lucas received PETA’s Heroic Dog Award for his honorable and loyal service!

 Image Credit: USA Today 

Meet Jake, an adorable search-and-rescue canine who dedicated his life to saving those affected by natural disasters. Despite being found abandoned in the street with a broken leg and dislocated hip, Jake was an elite member of Utah Task Force 1 and 1 of only 200 federally certified rescues dogs. With the help of his handler, Mary Flood, Jake became a vital member of search teams in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. In his spare time he even volunteered as a therapy dog and trained rookie rescue dogs! Jake was truly amazing! 

Image Credit: Refinery 29

Meet Figo, an exemplary guide dog who selfless act saved his owner’s life.  While guiding his vision impaired owner, Audrey Stone, across the street, Figo spotted a small school bus heading right in their direction. Like the true hero he is, Figo threw himself at the bus in an effort to shield his owner from the collision. He even made repeated attempts to be at his owner’s side as first responders tended to their injuries. Thanks to Figo for being so brave!

Image Credit: New York Daily News

Bear, a member of NYPD Transit Bureau’s K-9 Unit, is a true everyday hero. While working, Bear was called to assist a fellow officer who was attempting to break up a fight. Despite being kicked in the face and sustaining four broken teeth and tongue lacerations, Bear preformed his duty biting the attacker until his partner was able to handcuff the woman.  Bear was honored by his fellow K-9 coworkers for his courageous behavior as he left the canine hospital, new teeth and all!

MSA salutes all hero dogs and the life saving work they do. Stay tuned for more features on working dogs this week in anticipation of Max, the movie! Follow our hashtag, #MSAHeroDogs on twitter and send us your hero dogs using that hashtag!



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