Incredible Hero Dogs That Saved Human Lives

Here are some heartwarming stories about dogs saving human lives!


Dogs, Puppers, Doggos: no matter what you call them, they’re man’s best friends! These faithful furballs have been bred to be our best buds for more than 30,000 years, and today over 69 million households in the US alone have a pet dog! However, not all canine-human interactions are positive.

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the US! 800,000 cases of which require medical attention! And at least half of those bitten by dogs are children! That’s why the Svilicic family took a huge gamble when they adopted a Doberman from a rescue shelter and brought him home to their 17-month-old daughter back in 2007!

This Family Adopted A Doberman But After 5 Days They Heard A Scream

The Svilicic family living down under in Atherton, Australia with their toddler Charlotte, felt like their daughter needed a furry companion. And so, they decided to head down to their local rescue center to adopt a dog to bring home.

The Svilicics skipped past the family friendly dog breeds such as the squish-faced Pugs or the sunny Golden Retrievers. Instead, they set their hearts on a Doberman pinscher and thought it’d be a perfect addition to their family!

family adopted a doberman

However, everyone else at the shelter gave the Svilicics some serious side-eye. Doberman’s are a notoriously aggressive dog breed, and, if anything, the opposite of a family dog, because they were historically and deliberately bred to be vicious!

Dobermans were bred into existence by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann back in 1890 in Apolda, Germany. Karl Dobermann was a tax inspector, which may sound like an eye-wateringly boring job, but back in the 19th century it was a dangerous, if not deadly, profession!

It was a time before computers or dedicated mail systems, so Mr. Dobermann collected local taxes in person. He’d have to travel through shadier parts of town with bags of cash, making him a prime target to be robbed and beaten by bandits. He decided to breed dogs in the hopes of creating one that would be strong, aggressive, smart, and loyal enough to protect him.

danger of Mr. Dobermann's job

Mr. Dobermann also ran the Apolda town dog pound and so had access to various dogs to breed together. Eventually, he came up with the perfect combination; a cross between a Beauceron, German Pinscher, Rottweiler and a Weimaraner. From this, the Doberman pinscher was born!

His creation could deliver a bite with the force of 305 pounds of pressure per square inch! Which is about the same sort of force you’d expect from a medium sized refrigerator placed on a single square inch of your palm! By comparison, a human can only deliver a bite force of 162 pounds of pressure per square inch.

And the strength of a Doberman’s bite isn’t even the scariest thing! When they bite, Doberman’s jaws slide into place to align as they shut close, this creates a blade-like effect that slices through the flesh! That’s gonna hurt!

But not only that, Dobermans tend to attack by releasing and re-biting their target! Known as “scissor bites”, this could mangle your arm or leg so badly it would end up looking like the meat chunks in your dog’s dinner!

doberman bite

Combined with the Doberman’s fearless and aggressive temperament, this type of dog works well in the police and military. However, having one near young children, who can act unpredictably, is not advised. And yet somehow, the Svilicics saw past this Doberman’s sharp teeth and muscular frame. They thought this incredibly powerful dog would make a cuddly pooch pal.

Meanwhile, across the world in Germany, Mr. Doberman was spinning in his grave! But the Svilicics were undaunted, they were determined to bring this dog home, and named him Khan. To cast even more doubt about having this hound around their 17-month-old daughter, Charlotte, it turned out the Doberman they were adopting had a dark past.

In a heart-breaking revelation, it turned out Khan had arrived at the rescue shelter incredibly underweight and with several broken ribs. He’d come from a bad place and had clearly been treated terribly, and with that in mind it was uncertain how Khan would behave around his new family.

Especially since dogs that come from rough or abusive backgrounds typically demonstrate higher rates of aggression and fear towards unfamiliar people. It was clear the Svilicics were taking a serious gamble on this dog! Nevertheless, their risky decision seemed to pay off at first, as Khan, who appeared to only want love and affection, easily settled into their home.

Svilicic family doberman
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Everything was peaceful, for the time being. But the Svilicics weren’t totally foolish and made sure to keep a careful eye on Khan, especially when he was around little Charlotte. However, five days later, Charlotte was playing with Khan in the back yard. The pair was being carefully watched over by mother, Catherine.

That’s when Catherine’s worst fears came true as Khan’s behavior flipped, and he started aggressively nudging the baby. His growls, his stance, it was all horrifyingly clear: Khan was about to attack, but Catherine couldn’t react in time.

All of a sudden, Khan snatched Charlotte by her diaper! But Khan didn’t bite her, rather he reared his head and threw Charlotte over his shoulder! The little toddler crashed to the ground three feet away.

khan attacking charlotte

Horrified, Catherine rushed to check on her daughter, as the yard was filled with the sound of agonized screams! But they weren’t coming from Charlotte, they were coming from Khan. That’s when Catherine saw what had been lurking in the grass.

Slithering away was a huge King Brown Snake, a highly venomous serpent and one of the most dangerous snakes in all of Australia! Suddenly it all made sense! Khan’s aggressive nudging had been his attempts to move Charlotte away from the snake coiled up behind her.

khan saved charlotte from a King Brown Snake

And Khan’s howls of agony were because in rescuing Charlotte from the snake, he had been bitten on the paw instead! The Svilicics rushed Khan to the vet, where he was administered a lifesaving dose of anti-venom. Only then did the Svilicics realize how close they had come to losing their daughter.

A King Brown Snake can deliver a huge dose of 180 milligrams of venom in a single bite! And they bite savagely; sinking in their fangs and chewing on their victims, injecting a massive dose of toxic venom that can destroy blood cells and muscle tissue!

The deadliness of a King Brown Snake’s bite is dependent on body mass, as that determines how quickly the toxicity of the venom passes through a victim’s internal system. As an adult male Doberman, Khan would have weighed between 75 to 100 pounds, so he was able to handle this huge dose of venom and survive long enough to be treated.

khan was saved

However, Charlotte was just a toddler, weighing somewhere between 17 ½ to 31 pounds. The King Brown’s venom would have raced through her small system in no time, and could have delivered a fatal dose before the Svilicics could even reach a hospital! Khan was a true lifesaver.

This supposedly dangerous dog who’d suffered a lifetime of abuse and pain turned out to be the big-hearted hero all along and he was embraced as the Svilicic family’s beloved pet dog. And there are even more daredevil dogs that have put themselves in harm’s way to rescue their beloved humans. Want to know about a few more of them? Here we go.

Sako, The Hero Who Fought Off Coyotes

You may think the worst thing to deal with on a family road trip is your parent’s awful Spotify playlist. But for Joseph Phillips-Garcia, a sudden twist of fate turned a family road trip into a fight for survival!

Joseph was out on a road trip with his aunt and cousin to pick wild potatoes in British Columbia, Canada back in 2014. He was sat in the back of the truck with his canine pal, Sako, a black King Shepherd. It was an ordinary day, and the family was happily driving along the forest track.

 Joseph Phillips-Garcia family outing

But things took a tragic turn when Joseph’s aunt suddenly lost control of the truck! It came off the road and hurtled down a steep embankment, rolling down a ravine more than 300 feet deep before coming to a crashing halt!

Unfortunately, the only two survivors were Joseph and Sako, who were thrown out of the vehicle. Though he‘d survived the wreck, Joseph was badly injured. He’d broken his thigh bone and fractured his collar bone. So badly wounded and weakened, he wasn’t able to move or call for help.

 Joseph Phillips-Garcia injured

Injured, lost and alone in the woods, Joseph was now a tasty snack-in-waiting for predators like bears, lynx, and coyotes that inhabited those woods! But thankfully, Joseph still had Sako by his side, his ever-loyal companion. Despite the brutal crash and being a bit bruised himself, Sako refused to abandon his owner.

He huddled with Joseph and kept him warm, preventing him from succumbing to hypothermia! Amazingly, he also helped drag Joseph to a nearby creek to drink water. Luckily, the pair made it through the night without becoming bear food. But then just as they were falling asleep, they heard the tell-tale howls of a pack of creatures who had come to hunt: Coyotes!

Coyotes are the canine cousin of the wolf, typically weighing between 25-35 pounds, about the same as a medium sized dog . But don’t be fooled into thinking they’re like dogs, because these things are wild animals who’ve made the news for hunting humans in the past! Given Joseph’s heavily injured state, he’d be easy pickings for the coyotes.

coyote attack

And when creatures began rustling in the bushes by the crash site, Joseph knew his time was up. But then Sako leapt from his owner’s side and dove into the forest! What followed were the sounds of a ferocious battle, growling and snarling, as Sako fought the entire pack off. Joseph no doubt feared he was about to lose his dog as well! But then Sako returned from his battle triumphant, bearing only a single nasty bite mark on his neck.

And from there Joseph’s poor fortune reversed. After 40 hours trapped in the woods, rescuers finally found him! It took roughly 3 hours to safely move him in his seriously injured state from the forest, but from there he was rushed to hospital, where he was able to reunite with his family. And in the happy family reunion, Sako’s heroic efforts weren’t forgotten.

This courageous dog not only received a big juicy bone, but a gold medal as well! Nearly a year after the disastrous crash, Sako was inducted to the Purina Animal Hall of Fame; an annual event that honors life-saving pet heroes! After his brave battle against the coyotes, Sako certainly put the ‘King’ in ‘Black King Shepard’!

Watch on YouTube

Shih Tzu Saves Owner From Tsunami

In the seaside city of Miyako, Japan, 83-year-old retiree Tami Akanuma was enjoying a peaceful afternoon in her home with her 12-year-old Shih Tzu, Babu. Little did she know that on that day, March 11, 2011, the country would be hit by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful ever recorded in Japan!

The earthquake epicenter occurred 20 miles under the ocean, 45 miles off Japan’s east coast. This gigantic surge of energy released by the earthquake triggered a tsunami that would climb a frightening 133 feet in height as it rolled into shore, that’s a wave about the same height as a 13-story building!

Scarily, Akanuma’s home was located only 650 feet from the ocean! But she was completely unaware of the monster wave that was, at that very moment, racing towards her! Until her pet dog, Babu, began madly scampering around and whimpering loudly.

babu whimpering

It wasn’t yet time for their daily walk, but Akanuma couldn’t ignore her dog’s cries of distress. So, she put Babu on the leash and took her outside. That’s when the tsunami warning sounded! A blaring siren that alerted the whole town to the incoming mammoth wave!

Babu bolted in the opposite direction of their usual walk, urgently leading Akanuma over half a mile up to the crest of a nearby hill. Shortly after they’d arrived at the top of the hill, the tsunami crashed ashore and washed away almost all of Miyako city!

tsunami hitting the city

Over 3,600 houses in the town were totally obliterated, while another 1000 buildings were battered and partially collapsed! The ocean annihilated Akanuma’s house. But more importantly, she and Babu were safe on the top of the hill.

If Babu hadn’t so urgently rushed her out of the house, Akanuma likely would have become one of the 525 lost souls that day. So, maybe small dogs aren’t so bad, as it turns out they may be able to predict incoming natural disasters!

Dog Calls 911

Prank calls can be hilarious! From calling up your local laundromat and asking for a pizza, to calling one of your friends and pretending they’ve won a car on the radio! There are loads of jokes to be had!

But not every number is available for a prank call, in fact in every state in the US it is illegal to prank call 911! That’s because 911 is an emergency service, and receiving prank calls prevents dispatchers from responding to real emergencies, something they do not appreciate.

911 emergency services

So, back in 2017, when Ohio 911 dispatchers first received a strange call with scratching and heavy breathing on the other end of the line, they suspected they were dealing with some kind of prank calling creep! With no coherent response coming through, they soon terminated the call.

But imagine their surprise when the number immediately re-dialed! Yet when they picked up, all they heard was more heavy breathing and scratching. So, they hung up again. But then the number kept dialing! Dispatchers connected to the call a total of 10 times but had no option but to hang up every time, as no clear words were spoken.

Except on the 10th call, when dispatchers were finally able to hear the distressed sounds of someone in the background. Realizing there was a real emergency, dispatchers were able to track the phone’s location and send first responders to the scene. They arrived at a house where a Pitbull-Labrador mix dog was anxiously waiting for them.

The dog led them inside to its owner, who was having a seizure on the floor! He was rushed to hospital, where he was identified as former US Marine Terry McGlade. But there remained the mystery of who was making those strange 911 calls?

hero dog called 911

Because Terry had been alone in the house, and completely incapacitated. The only other one there was his dog, Major. That’s when the dispatchers finally realized, it had been the dog dialing all along!

You may think that’s impaws-ible, after all how could a dog work an iPhone? However, Major is a trained rescue dog. He was adopted by Terry after his time serving in Afghanistan had left him with severe PTSD and seizures following an accident with an improvised explosive device.

After Terry collapsed, Major retrieved his iPhone from his front pocket and repeatedly stepped on it. Terry’s iPhone was set to Emergency SOS, calling 911 after the top button had been pressed five times. And though it took 10 or so false starts, Major’s persistence saved the day!

hero dog called 911

Dog Saves Owner From Rattlesnake

Todd, a golden retriever puppy, was out for a hike in Arizona with his owner Paula Goodwin, back in 2018, when Paula failed to spot she was about to step on a rattlesnake! The startled snake coiled back to strike Paula when Todd jumped in between the pair and intercepted the rattlesnake’s bite with his furry face!

dog saved owner from rattle snake bite

A heroic, but also incredibly stupid thing to do. Rattlesnakes are highly venomous, with their toxins capable of causing tissue damage and internal bleeding! Treatment with an injection of anti-venom is required within thirty minutes, otherwise, if left untreated, the venom can cause severe organ damage, and even death!

Paula rushed Todd to the vets, where he was able to receive an anti-venom injection within ten minutes of being bitten. Intercepting a snake bite with your own face is a pretty dumb idea, one that left this lovable himbo pooch with a massively swollen muzzle!

todd hero dog

Leo The Dog Saves Owner From Drowning

Vernazza is a picturesque village located on northern Italy’s stunning coastline. But in October 2011, this small village went from a colorful enclave to a muddy swamp as it was deluged with a colossal flood!

Buildings and property were destroyed, as the whole village was left submerged in 13 feet of mud! Every villager has a tale to tell about how the flood affected them. But none as are extraordinary as what happened to Pierpaolo Paradisi and his little dog, Leo.

Watch on YouTube

Pierpaolo was on his commute to work driving along the village cliffside. Just a month earlier he had adopted a rescue dog from Serbia, Leo, who was now riding alongside him. However, while they were driving, a severe storm struck, and a flash flood suddenly submerged the road they were on!

Pierpaolo tried to carefully navigate the road even as it was rapidly turning into a river! He didn’t take any notice of Leo creeping closer and closer, until the dog leapt into his lap! Shocked, Pierpaolo stopped the car and began to reprimand Leo when, suddenly, a gigantic mudslide swept barely three feet in front of the car!

Putting the car in reverse, the pair quickly retreated off the mountain road. Only afterwards did Pierpaolo realize Leo’s intervention had saved them from being swept off the cliff side!

Pierpaolo saved from mudslide

Most likely, Leo’s keen sense of hearing had picked up on the shifting rocks on the top of the mountain. Dogs have a keen hearing ability that allows them to detect sounds from four times further away than humans! So, while Pierpaolo had been oblivious to the incoming mudslide, it seems Leo had sensed the danger and warned his owner in the nick of time!

In Leo’s honor, Pierpaolo later named a property in his hotel business after him. So, if you ever visit Vernazza, you can stay in Leo’s Lodge! But best to avoid the area during the rainy season, unless you’d enjoy a very intense mud bath!

Hero Dog Saves Life Of Freezing Owner

What’s your New Year’s Resolution? To get fitter? Cut out sugar? Well, for Bob living in Michigan, his resolution is simple: never go outside in a pair of slippers! Because on New Year’s Eve 2016, Bob stepped out of his farmhouse in his pajamas and slippers to collect some firewood.

The dead of winter, the ground was frozen solid, with the temperature a glacial 24°F! Bob really should have taken a minute to put his boots on, as slippers and ice are a hazardous combination; something he found out the hard way when he slipped on the ice and broke his neck!

bod out in slippers

Bob lived in an incredibly remote area, his closest neighbor over a quarter of a mile away! Paralyzed and exposed tn the ice, Bob was doomed to die of hypothermia. But then an unlikely hero arrived: his five-year-old Golden Retriever, Kelsey!

She kept Bob warm by lying on top of him and licking his face and hands. Kelsey also called for help by barking and howling until the neighbors eventually heard her and were able to call an ambulance.

When Bob arrived in hospital, his core temperature was dangerously low. The normal core temperature for a person is 98.6°F. Hypothermia sets in below 95°F. Bob’s core temperature was a dangerously low 69.8°F! But miraculously, Kelsey’s body heat had kept him alive long enough to reach the hospital.

kelsey saved bob's life

And after surgery, Bob made a full recovery from his paralysis. Miraculously, lying in the snow had acted like a full body ice pack for Bob, keeping him cold and still, preventing further damage to his spinal cord. Amazingly, Bob was able to make a full recovery! All thanks to Kelsey being a clever girl. She’s certainly smarter than Bob walking on ice in his slippers!

Newfoundland Rescue Dogs

If you’re ever drowning in the ocean, you may be hoping Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will come to save you. But it might come as a shock when you get a hairy beast instead, and no, I don’t mean David Hasselhoff. Rather a giant 150-pound dog!

At least that would be the case if you ever got into trouble in the water off the Italian coastline. Because here, instead of lifeguards, they train Newfoundland Dogs to jump to the rescue! These gentle giants leap from helicopters, dive from boats, or run across the beach to rescue people struggling in the ocean.

Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs

You may wonder how this wooly mammoth of a dog could ever manage to swim in the ocean. Surely, they’d be weighed down by their hefty coat, right? Actually, their double fur coat keeps them warm and repels water. The coarse outer hair has an oily sheen that is water-resistant, while the undercoat is soft and dense to retain body heat.

Also, their webbed paws and long toes act like paddles, allowing them to power through the water like canine canoes. And unlike other dogs who may lose stamina, Newfoundland’s don’t swim in the typical doggy paddle style. Instead, their movements are similar to the breaststroke, extending their legs down and out to the sides, giving them a strong, fast stroke through the water.

Watch on YouTube

Their strength and hulking size is perfect for pulling people safely back to shore. A slobbery newfoundland may not be as good-looking as The Rock, but any dog that rescues someone from drowning is a handsome hero in my eyes!

If you were amazed at these heroic dogs who saved human lives, you might want to read our article about how popular dog breeds evolved over time. Thanks for reading!

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