9 Jan | Posted by Jelena Ciric | no comments |
If you like hitting the slopes, one of these days you might find yourself in the white, snowy, milky wilderness. There’s no Internet, there are no means to navigate the space that we have lost natural bonds with. All kinds of accidents may happen to people who have or haven’t been trained to survive the wilderness. Especially in wintertime.
There comes a faithful sniffer to guide your way to salvation. Although dogs have lived in domestic cohabitation with humans for so long that they lost some of their innate features, they have still kept enough of them to make the difference between life and death.
Thanks to the breed that later became known as St. Bernard, more than 2.000 people were saved from the deadly Alps during the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of these rescue missions were described in journals of Napoleon’s soldiers, who had to break through the notorious St. Bernard’s Pass during one of their military marches. Big, slobbery pooches would sniff their way through the mountains. When they felt the scent of a human buried deep in the snow, they would start digging to let the air in, and call for help. The injured were frozen, so the dogs would lay on top of them to warm them up. Just how precious can be a benevolent furry ball with a warm breath!
This is exactly what the so-called avalanche dogs are trained to do. Not only St. Bernards, but also Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Border Collies practice with their handlers before actually embarking on a life-saving adventure. One well-trained canine hero is worth more than 20 human trackers! The training process takes around three years to complete and requires much patience and diligence.
You may remember Juneau, a female Husky who saved her human’s life after a ski accident. Leonard Somers was lying helplessly in the snow with his back broken. As he himself would recall, Juneau freed his face from the snow, kept him warm, hesitating to leave him, but eventually realized it was necessary and ran to get help. Juneau was later honored by PETA’s Dog Hero Award.
All of those situations show the true meaning and power of Paws. While you walk peacefully by the river or through the city parks, it’s a sure thing that your dog, his life and wellbeing depend on you. You feed him, you teach her commands to sit or wait until the traffic lights turn green, you pick up the waste. It is your responsibility that your dog does or doesn’t behave well in an all-human environment. Dogs have become our allies in our efforts to make this world a more beautiful, friendly and safe space. They have fully adapted to this cause and seem to enjoy it. We should never forget how much they mean to us, with their modest, loving commitment and humanism.
They don’t do what they do just because it’s in their canine nature to care for the Alpha. They do what they do because they love us.