Can Dogs be Heroes? The Day A Dog Saved Me

By Scott T. Allison

One of the most memorable moments of my life occurred when I was about 10 years old.  At that time, I walked about one mile each day to school – Woodlake Avenue Elementary School, located in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California.   I just googled the school and sure enough, 40 years later, it’s still there.

One morning I was walking to school and was no more than a block away from home when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I was startled to see a large, brown, and very angry dog running directly at me at full speed.  I stopped in my tracks, terrified.  The dog rushed at me with fuming growls, snarling teeth, and unmistakable hostility. There was absolutely nowhere for me to run or escape.  No tree to climb, no shelter available.  I was sure that I was about to be ripped to pieces.

When the dog was about ten feet from me, a second astonishing thing happened.

From the right, another dog, a different breed but just as big, appeared.  This second dog also seemed to appear out of nowhere, and it instantly positioned itself between me and the attacking dog.  The second dog snarled and barked at the first dog and did not allow it to harm me.  The two dogs squared off, barking and growling at each other.  Each time the first dog tried to lunge at me, the second one cut it off and sent the attacking animal backwards.

Perhaps 15 seconds passed as I watched in amazement, and relief.  One dog was doing everything it could to save me from another.  I gradually recovered from the shock of the situation and resumed my walk to school, at a quick pace, looking back over my shoulder to see what was happening.  When the first dog attempted to follow me, the second one blocked its path.  The two dogs continued to bark and snarl at each other, and soon their noises faded and they were both out of sight.

One remarkable fact about this incident is that I had never seen either dog before that day.  And I never saw them again afterward.  Where in the world had they come from?  And where did they go?

A skeptic might say that the second dog was not protecting me.  Perhaps I just happened to get caught in the middle of a showdown between the two canine superpowers in the neighborhood.

I’m certain this isn’t the case.  I am absolutely sure that the first dog was directing its anger at me, and me alone.  It had made a bee-line toward me, it made clear eye contact with me, and it’s intention was to do harm to me.  And I am equally certain that the second dog’s sudden intervention surprised the first dog as much as it surprised me.  That big beautiful second dog simply would not allow the first animal to hurt me.  There is no doubt in my mind that second animal arrived on the scene to protect me.

There is one intuitive gut feeling about this incident that I must also share.  And I must confess that while this is a leap of inference from the facts that I have just described, it is a powerful feeling that I can’t dismiss.  As I stood there, amazed that a second dog had arrived to thwart the attack, I could sense an amazing presence of love and goodness in that second dog.  It was doing everything in its power to save me and protect me.  I sensed pure selfless love.

I felt, and still feel, overwhelming gratitude toward this altruistic being.

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For the past three years, I’ve had Google send me every online story it can find involving a hero saving someone’s life.  Every day I get stories from all over the world.  The vast majority are stories of humans saving humans.  But several times each month, there is a story about a dog saving a human life.  A dog who barks in the night to wake her owner because of smoke in the house.  A dog who drags another injured dog off of busy highway.  A dog who alerts someone when his owner falls unconscious.

Yes, there are cat hero stories, too, but they are far fewer in number.  Dogs seem to be hardwired to love and protect people, and there are numerous stories of dogs saving people.  Some of them are amazing and quite moving.  You can read some of these stories here, and other ones here.

Do you have a story about someone who has saved you?  I’d love to hear about it.  It doesn’t matter to me if the creature saving you was a human being, an animal, a god, or a martian.  I’m interested.

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You can contact Scott Allison at sallison@richmond.edu.

7 Responses to “Can Dogs be Heroes? The Day A Dog Saved Me”


  • Angels do not need to be in human form….

  • Dogs can be real heroes I have no doubt over it. I have myself a dog and can tell you that in many cases those creatures can behave better than humans.

  • I don’t doubt for a second that this dog acted out of pure altruism. Dogs are very protective of the loved ones in their pack, whether that pack is canine or human, but they are also capable (like humans) of acting on behalf of strangers. While the animal that attacked you was obviously a canine psychopath, the dog that came to your aid was a good Samaritan– as with humans, dogs have a diverse range of personalities.

    And it’s not just dogs. Many other species exhibit altruism. Dolphins are noted for it. I recently saw a video of a zebra being saved from a crocodile by hippo. Fiction is rife with animal heroes, from Trigger to Lassie. Not to mention those apes that saved Lord Greystroke. ;)

  • amazing story… i agree with the first person that replied, angels do come in various forms. glad you were ok.
    it’s really sad that people can’t control their dogs. by nature dogs are so loving and caring, but as with children pets are sometimes a product of their environment. the dog that came at you should have been fenced in, tethered or controlled. here at http://www.whirlydogsupplies.com we are glad you are doing well. and that the other dog got involved with the one that was ready to attack.

  • Sure dogs have done alot for humans. In Kenya we got a child that we just celebrated her 1st birthday since the day she was saved by a dog. Nice one from you.

  • Dogs have been our companions for thousands of years. For hundreds of years, they have been even more than that. We have long taken advantage of dogs’ keen senses of smell, willingness to work for us, and loyalty to help us when we get lost. Dogs love to work and they are willing to do it for a treat or a toy, or even just a pat on the head. Without dogs, countless people would have lost their lives over the years.

  • Heartwarming story. I love dogs.

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