Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hercules, St. Bernard saved from death row repays the favor by defending hi home and chasing of an intruder.

from : Hercules was adopted by a couple in Hillsboro, Ohio, who saw the ailing 135-pound St. Bernard at the animal shelter and feared he would be euthanized.

Six hours later, the heroic canine repaid his new owners’ kindness when a dark-clothed thug broke into the couple’s house.

The man had cut the phone and cable lines running to the home of Rubert and Elizabeth Littler and had sneaked into their basement.

Mr Littler was taking Hercules outside for a walk when he began to growl, sensing the intruder that his master did not know was there.

Suddenly, Hercules pulled away from Mr Littler and broke through the closed screen door.

‘The guy must have just come up out of the basement when he heard me open the door. Hercules jumped off the back porch, over the stairwell, and I see this guy running toward the fence,’ he told the Times-Gazette in Hillsboro.

As the intruder ran, Hercules was close on his heels.

The burglar climbed over the fence and Hercules chomped down on one of the man’s ankles.

The thug managed to break himself free and fled.

Police suspect the man could be a serial burglar. A person matching his description broke into an occupied home the night before.

And the night after his encounter with Hercules, police believe the man might have stuck a third time.

Hercules took a difficult journey to the Littlers’ home. Two people hiking in the woods found him laying in the middle of a trail. He was so weak and mangy that they men thought he was a fallen log.

How he got into the woods is unclear, but he had been attacked by coyotes and was badly malnourished and dehydrated.

The hikers collected the dog and brought him back to to Hillsboro, where they nursed him back to health before taking him to the local animal shelter.

That is where the Littlers met him.

‘Originally, we adopted him because we didn’t want him to be euthanized. We thought we’d get him back up and going and see if we couldn’t get him a new home or some rescue group to take him,’ Mr Littler said. ‘But now we don’t know what we’re going to do. I think he’s more or less earned his right to stay.’

Tagged ,

The Top Secret Dog who Hunted Down The Most Wanted Terrorist in History.

The identities of all 80 members of the American commando team who thundered into Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden are the subject of intense speculation, but perhaps none more so than the only member with four legs.

Little is known about what may be the nation’s most courageous dog. Even its breed is the subject of great interest, although it was most likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, military sources say. But its use in the raid reflects the military’s growing dependence on dogs in wars in which improvised explosive devices have caused two-thirds of all casualties. Dogs have proved far better than people or machines at quickly finding bombs.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, said last year that the military needed more dogs. “The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine,” he said.

Maj. William Roberts, commander of the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, said the dog on the raid could have checked the compound for explosives and even sniffed door handles to see if they were booby-trapped.

And given that Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a narrow, dark hole beneath a mud shack in Iraq, the Seal team might have brought the dog in case Bin Laden had built a secret room into his compound.

“Dogs are very good at detecting people inside of a building,” Major Roberts said.

Another use may have been to catch anyone escaping the compound in the first moments of the raid. A shepherd or a Malinois runs twice as fast as a human.

Tech Sgt. Kelly A. Mylott, the kennel master at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, called dogs ideal for getting someone who is running away without having to shoot them. “When the dogs go after a suspect, they’re trained to bite and hold them,” Sergeant Mylott said.

Some dogs are big enough that, when they leap on a suspect, the person tends to drop to the ground, Sergeant Mylott said. Others bite arms or legs. “Different dogs do different things,” she said. “But whatever they do, it’s very difficult for that person to go any further.”

Finally, dogs can be used to pacify an unruly group of people — particularly in the Middle East. “There is a cultural aversion to dogs in some of these countries, where few of them are used as pets,” Major Roberts said. “Dogs can be very intimidating in that situation.”

Sergeant Mylott said that dogs got people’s attention in ways that weapons sometimes did not. “Dogs can be an amazing psychological deterrent,” she said.

There are 600 dogs serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that number is expected to grow substantially over the next year, Ensign Brynn Olson of the United States Central Command said. Particularly popular with the troops are the growing number of Labrador retrievers who wander off-leash 100 yards or more in front of patrols to ensure the safety of the route. A Silver Star, one of the Navy’s highest awards, was awarded posthumously in 2009 to a dog named Remco after he charged an insurgent’s hide-out in Afghanistan.

The training of dogs in Navy Seal teams and other Special Operations units is shrouded in secrecy. Maj. Wes Ticer, a spokesman for United States Special Operations Command, said the dogs’ primary functions “are finding explosives and conducting searches and patrols.”

“Dogs are relied upon,” he continued, “to provide early warning for potential hazards, many times, saving the lives of the Special Operations Forces with whom they operate.”

Last year, the Seals bought four waterproof tactical vests for their dogs that featured infrared and night-vision cameras so that handlers — holding a three-inch monitor from as far as 1,000 yards away — could immediately see what the dogs were seeing. The vests, which come in coyote tan and camouflage, let handlers communicate with the dogs with a speaker, and the four together cost more than $86,000. Navy Seal teams have trained to parachute from great heights and deploy out of helicopters with dogs.

The military uses a variety of breeds, but by far the most common are the German shepherd and the Belgian Malinois, which “have the best overall combination of keen sense of smell, endurance, speed, strength, courage, intelligence and adaptability to almost any climatic condition,” according to a fact sheet from the military working dog unit.

Suzanne Belger, president of the American Belgian Malinois Club, said she was hoping the dog was one of her breed “and that it did its job and came home safe.” But Laura Gilbert, corresponding secretary for the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, said she was sure the dog was her breed “because we’re the best!”
A version of this article appeared in print on May 5, 2011, on page A16 of the New York edition with the headline: To Serve and Protect, and Sniff Out Trouble, an International Dog of Mystery.

Vittles the Berlin Airlift Dog 130 Missions

Air Dog
Vittles, the only dog to log more than 130 missions during the Berlin airlift, proved also to be a great morale booster during the allied relief effort.
By Don Vaughan

Lt. Clarence “Russ” Steber, a former Air Force pilot, may hold the record for the most missions flown during the Berlin airlift, but it’s his boxer, Vittles, that most people remember.* And with good reason. Vittles was the only dog to log more than 130 missions from Erding, Germany, to Berlin and back. He even had his own parachute, on orders from Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay.

Steber, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying a record 415 missions during the 318-day allied relief effort to West Berlin, bought Vittles from a German friend when the dog was 1 year old.

But after I got him, I realized I didn’t have any place to leave him, Steber recalls. I couldn’t leave him in the bachelor officers’ quarters all by himself because sometimes I would be gone for two or three days at a time. So I started taking him in the plane with me.

Vittles quickly was adopted by Steber’s fellow pilots, who came to adore the affectionate pooch. If I had to take off without him for some reason, Vittles would get aboard another plane, and the crew would take care of him until we ran into each other again, says Steber, 86, of Melbourne, Fla. Vittles flew a total of 131 missions with me and many more missions with other pilots that were not recorded.

One day, Steber was instructed to see LeMay, who commanded the airlift at the time. I thought, “Oh boy, I’m in trouble now,”Steber recalls with a laugh. But much to Steber’s relief, LeMay wasn’t upset just concerned.

“Are you the pilot who owns the dog that’s flying in our planes to Berlin?” LeMay asked Steber.

“Yes, sir,” Steber replied.

“He’s flying without a parachute?” LeMay asked.

“Yes, sir,” Steber said. “Vittles doesn”t have a parachute.”

“That dog is the greatest morale builder to my pilots and crew than anything I can think of, so I want a parachute made for him,” LeMay said.

On the general’s orders, Vittles was outfitted with a special harness and parachute that attached to Steber’s chute via a tether. “If I bailed out with him, my chute would open first and pull the rip cord on Vittles’ chute,” Steber explains.
“That dog is the greatest morale builder to my pilots and crew than anything I can think of, so I want a parachute made for him.”

Gen. Curtis LeMay, USAF

Vittles’ parachute is the only one ever made by the Air Force for a dog now is on display as part of the Berlin Airlift Exhibit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. “Throughout the history of the Air Force, animal mascots have provided unit identity and made valuable contributions to esprit de corps, says Senior Curator Terry Aitken. “The parachute allows us to tell the story of the Berlin Airlift’s mascot and the special bonds between Vittles and the pilots that he flew with as a “crew dog.” It’s a wonderful story and already a special hit with our visitors.

Vittles never had to use his parachute but Steber wasn’t so lucky. During one harrowing mission, in which Vittles did not participate, Steber lost his engines and had to bail out at a low altitude over Soviet territory. The landing knocked him unconscious, and he awoke to find himself in Soviet custody.

The Soviets interrogated Steber for several days, but all he would tell them was his name, rank, and serial number. “I was a young American, and I gave them a hard time,” he says. “Everywhere I went, they had a bust of Stalin on the desk and a picture of Stalin on the wall. One day I got tired of their questions, so I reached over and grabbed a bust of Stalin and pulled it toward me. “Who’s this?” I asked the interpreter. “Napoleon?

That insolent question earned Steber a beating at the hands of his angry captors. “It turns out that [everyone else in the room] could speak English and understand it too,” he recalls with a chuckle. Steber eventually was released and allowed to return to Erding, where he continued flying missions to Berlin.

Even though Vittles never had to bail out during a mission, he was aboard when Steber made a few hard landings. During one mission, the hydraulic pump on Steber’s C-47 burst and caught fire, forcing him to land with no flaps or power other than engines. “We crashed at the end of the field and struck an MP building, Steber says. Luckily, none of the crew including Vittles was injured.

Another time, Steber’s C-47, which he later learned had been overloaded, crashed at the end of a runway in Berlin, but again no one was hurt. And in a third hair-raising incident, Steber was forced to land with zero visibility because of fog.

“I was flying blind,” he recalls. “So using the ground control approach, I touched down on the runway as best I could. I couldn’t see a darned thing, but I kept hearing a blump, blump, blump noise. I got the plane stopped and we found that I was a little bit off the runway and had run over the runway lights.”

Between missions, Vittles was just part of the gang. “Everyone loved him because he brought a smile to their faces, Steber says. “The other guys enjoyed taking Vittles into the officer’s club and giving him pans of beer. Sometimes he got so drunk that I had to carry him home.

Vittles became a celebrity at home and abroad. In fact, his popularity was such that he became known as “the world’s most photographed dog. His picture appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, as well as in the comics. In one cartoon, Vittles is sitting at a table in the officer’s club with a fork and knife in his paws. The chief cook is behind him, yelling: “I don’t care how many missions he’s got, he’s not eating in my dining room!”

When the Soviet blockade of Berlin ended in 1949, Steber and Vittles were sent to Biggs AFB, Texas. At the age of 6, Vittles contracted heart worms from a mosquito bite and fell ill. LeMay, upon hearing the news, arranged for a veterinarian to care for the dog, but nothing could be done. When Vittles died, the news was reported on the front pages of the El Paso Times and the Air Force Times, as well as on the local television news. The beloved mascot of all who participated in the Berlin airlift was buried on the grounds of Biggs AFB.

Tagged , , , , ,

Ground Zero search dog Guiness

On Sept. 12, 2001, Canine Search Specialist Sheila McKee rode by bus into Manhattan for the first time.

As they approached, she recalled she could see the smoke rising from the scene.

“We train a lot, but I don’t think you can ever train or be prepared for a disaster of that magnitude,” said the Highland resident. “I don’t think that anybody who worked that particular tragedy was ready for what we experienced. There is a bit of naiveté.”

McKee and her husband, David Graves, then an engineer with the Redlands Fire Department, joined a group of canine handlers as part of Riverside Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Six sent to Ground Zero to help with the search for survivors following the attacks.

She and Guinness, her yellow Labrador retriever, were on the pile for much of 10 days, she said. They found no survivors, she said.

“It took a moment to realize even the computers, the chairs, even the desks were gone,” she said.

Guinness is now one of only 12 Sept. 11 search dogs who are still living. He’s losing his vision and is a bit unsteady on the hardwood floors at the McKee/Graves home.

She has not been back to New York since, but thinks she may soon be ready to return. Looking back, she said her strongest memory is that of New York’s residents.

“We were in these huge buses and the caravan a mile long,” she said. “We had all these teams and equipment – we carry upwards of 70,000 pounds of equipment for us – and there’s 80 personnel. As we’re coming in, the streets were lined with people. They could see us coming and they all stood on the street and they waved at us and they clapped. I remember being terribly emotional because we were at that moment overwhelmed and connecting with these people.”

full article here

Coby and Guinness two labrador retrievers — searched tirelessly through the rubble of the World Trade Center 10 years ago before returning home to Southern California and, eventually, retirement at their handlers’ Highland home.
Coby was 6 when he was deployed to the WTC site with Redlands Battalion Chief David Graves.

Both of these dogs worked for an even larger and more crowded area than they were trained for, they searched for 11 days in 12 hour shifts. There reward was a nap or a chew toy

Over the years Cody lost his hearing but continued working with hand signals. Guiness had been trained for wilderness search and recovery before joining Riverside Task Force 6.

The massive pile of wreckage was so dangerous multiple times it was cleared of searchers because of fear of more collapse.

Coby has sinced passed on but not before finding 18 to 20 people in this human holocaust at Ground Zero. One can only imagine there is a reserved spot in heaven for such heroism.

Tagged , , , , ,

Orion the Yellow Labrador hunting and searching , a star and a hero..

Named for a mythical hunter and a constellation, search and rescue dog Orion has become a star in his old age.

full article here By Cathy Locke

The golden retriever, who lives in Vacaville with owner and handler Robert Macaulay, was one of more than 100 search and rescue dogs sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to New York City to help locate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. Now 13 years old, Orion and the 14 other 9/11 search and rescue dogs surviving a decade later are featured in a book, “Retrieved,” by photographer Charlotte Dumas, scheduled for publication this month.
He and Orion participated in the 9/11 search as volunteers with the Oakland Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, one of eight such groups in California. It was Orion’s first collapsed-building assignment. Because the dog had just passed the first of two certification tests, Macaulay said, they weren’t sent until two weeks after the attack.
“By that time,” he said, “we knew we were looking only for remains.”
Orion found three sets of remains.
His most successful search was of an outdoor patio area, 10 stories up.
“There was so much scent coming up the side of the building, I feared he might go over the edge,” Macaulay said.
Dumas, 34, said in a telephone interview that much of her previous work focused on fine art portraits of working animals, including police dogs and horses. She was researching a project on military dogs returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan when she learned about the dogs of 9/11. She took the dogs sent by FEMA as her domain and photographed the 15 that were still living from March through May of this year. Three of those dogs have since died, she said.
On one hand, she said, these dogs are just like the average dog, but as working animals, they exhibit a higher degree of concentration.
“They have a higher sense of responsibility,” Dumas said. “They’re not as carefree as most animals. They have a very serious side.”
Macaulay, a transportation and land-use planner with the Solano Transportation Authority, grew up in Reno and attributes his interest in search and rescue work to his experience as a Boy Scout.
“It’s about being prepared and citizenship, being a good member of society,” he said. “It’s how I can give back.”
Macaulay has trained dogs for both wilderness and structural search and rescue. He initially volunteered with the Sacramento Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. He and Orion’s predecessor, Quasar, participated in rescue efforts following the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
Macaulay and Orion also went to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, although because of the deep floodwaters, he said, search opportunities were limited.
Macaulay and Orion’s nephew, 4-year-old Helios, currently volunteer with the Menlo Park Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.
Retired, Orion no longer participates in official searches.
“But part of the bargain is that even when he is retired, I try not to let him know that,” Macaulay said. “He still goes out on training.”
For being the age equivalent of a human about 95 years old, “he’s still darn spry and active,” Macaulay said.
Dumas said it has been gratifying to see the public’s interest in these dogs, as word has circulated about the book.
Like Orion, most of the dogs went on to have long careers after 9/11, Dumas said.
“Now, after 10 years,” she said, “they get their moment to shine.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Red, 9/11 rescue dog retired but still a hero.

I have been behind on blogging recently. Taking care of my three dogs and trying to get some freelance work by submitting graphic designs for bid proposals I want to catch up here so I am hoping to do a few 9-11 dog stories each day.

She may be retired now, but Red was one of the four-legged heroes in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
Red was among hundreds of other dogs who worked in New York and Washington, D.C. after the attacks, according to the video below from Reuters. She searched through the rubble at the Pentagon in 12-hour shifts in the hot sun, helping to recover dozens of bodies over several weeks.
Now 12-years-old and retired, the labrador occasionally tags along on search missions. She “still has the same love of the search,” according to the video report.
Her trainer, Heather Roche, explains that Red was not initially cut out for the job. “I never thought she would be a successful search dog,” she told Reuters. But no matter what I asked her to do … she did it every single time and she did it perfectly,” Roche added.
There are also over 530 police officers who work with bomb-sniffing dogs named after 9/11 victims.
There are organizations that work to train dogs, such as the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which helps train dogs, mostly from shelters, to save human lives during disasters.

Tagged , , , ,

Roselle the guide dog that led a blind man out of Twin Towers during the attack insires book.

article written by Erika Conner reposted from

Castro Valley author Susy Flory says when she first listened to Michael Hingson tell his harrowing account of surviving the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center with help from his guide dog Roselle, the story gave her chills.
It was the spring of 2010 and Flory, now 46, had interviewed Hingson about his experience over the phone for inclusion in her forthcoming book Dog Tales, a collection of true and inspiring stories featuring dogs from around the globe.
Flory said during their initial conversation she asked Hingson if he had ever thought about writing a memoir describing the ordeal.  “He said yes, but that he also wanted a collaborator. More chills,” she said.
After they said their goodbyes and hung up, Flory realized the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 was coming up. Soon thereafter she approached Hingson about working together, since the two lived less than an hour apart.

“I got chills all over again. I think it was meant to be,” Flory said.

She spent much of last summer at his Novato home, where she bonded with Hingson over their shared love of travel, books, dogs and adventure. Hingson, who is blind, recounted how Roselle led him and dozens of others to safety from the 78th floor of Tower 1 moments before it crumbled.

But he has never let his blindness slow him down—not then and not now. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a master’s degree in physics and today runs his own consulting firm, piloting small planes and playing golf in his free time.

His determination and positive attitude have left a lasting impression on her, she says.

Flory was recovering from breast cancer when she first met Hingson and said he treats his blindness as an asset, not a liability.

“I am learning to look at my challenges in the same way and I am finding that using what I have to serve others is the biggest adventure of all,” she said. “I learned that by lowering my guard, choosing to trust others and working together, we could accomplish great things.

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero was released on Aug. 2 and one week later found itself on the New York Times bestseller list, placing in the e-book category, nonfiction hardcover, and combined e-book/nonfiction. The memoir has remained on the list for the last five weeks, which Flory says is “mind-blowing.”

Meanwhile, Hingson is readjusting to life without his trusted companion. Roselle, a yellow Labrador retriever, died in June at the age of 13, but her memory lives on in both the book and a foundation Hingson has started in her honor. Roselle’s Dream Foundation works to assist blind children and adults in obtaining new technologies.

Roselle has also been named a finalist in the 2011 American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog Awards.

“On 9/11, Mike and Roselle never gave up and lived out the first guide dog command: ‘Forward,'” Flory says. “Now whenever I face a challenge, that simple word comes to mind as I think of Mike and Roselle at the top of those 1,463 stairs in the North Tower: ‘Forward.'”

youtube preview of the book

A Link to the book on amazon

Tagged , , , ,

Moxie 9/11 Rescue Dog
WINTHROP, Mass. — Four Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dogs based out of Beverly were among the first to arrive at the World Trade Center hours after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Moxie was 3 years old at the time, freshly certified as an Urban Search and Rescue dog. It was the first assignment for the chocolate Lab and her owner, Mark Aliberti, who was a Winthrop firefighter at the time.
“The World Trade Center — for lack of a better term — it was a complete mess,” Aliberti said. “The terrain we were working on was pretty unusual. A lot of steel, a lot of just — everything was there.”
During the eight days at ground zero, Aliberti and Moxie started searching for survivors in one of the World Trade Center buildings that was still standing.
Moxie was about 50 feet ahead, leading the way. All of a sudden, the smoke started thickening. Aliberti and his team leader agreed: it was time to get out.
“And all of a sudden the dog goes by me. I think she could hear the tones in our voice that things changed — ‘I’m leaving,’ ” he said. “She knew it was a hazardous situation, she was doing what she was told, but as soon as we were ready to go, she didn’t have to be told to leave.”
As a team, Aliberti would help navigate Moxie through the twisted steel and concrete rubble, and let her nose do the work. Section by section, they searched for survivors.
After not finding anything, Moxie would often re-search the area and find cadavers, even though she was trained to ignore them.
“She’d turn around to check where I was because she’d know she wasn’t supposed to be messing around over there,” he recalled.
“So I’d go over and I started marking these spots after a couple of days. And I’d mark them, and we’d leave, because we were still hoping to find live victims. And what happened is that eventually I think it became apparent to everybody that three or four days into it that we probably weren’t going to find anymore live victims.”
Finding those live victims is really important to a dog like Moxie. To keep her spirits up, to keep her focused, Aliberti took the time to find ways to reward her.
He would often ask other firefighters to hide among the rubble, so Moxie could find somebody.
“That’ll bolster them, get them up and running again,” Aliberti explained. “You have to do that after a while because it’s long days.”
But after four days and in spite of those games, Aliberti and Moxie couldn’t escape the dangers. Once when they were playing tug-of-war at the site, he didn’t realize that big chunks of glass were hidden underneath layers of thick, thick dust.
“I realized it was blood,” he said, remembering seeing her hind paw torn up. “She cut a pretty good flap out of it.”
They went to the team veterinarian, who said Moxie would not be able to continue working while her paw healed. So Aliberti headed back to the Javitz Center, which served as a staging area for the FEMA teams. There, he ran into veterinarian Lori Gordon, who recommended gluing the flap of Moxie’s paw back together.
“We’d treat it, superglue it, and wrap it for the night. And then the next day, I’d usually take the wrapping off and we’d just go with the superglue. And she’d usually be able to get through the day as long as it didn’t get too wet,” Aliberti explained. “It’s more of a military mentality … you treat the people you can put back in the fight as soon as possible.”
Ten years later, that fight is over now for Moxie.
At 13 and with some gray hairs on her muzzle, she and Aliberti still spend a lot of time together. They often go to Coughlin Park in Winthrop to enjoy a sunny day outside.

By Kathleen McNerney