President Lyndon B. Johnson holds his dog “Her” by the ears as his other dog “Him” looks on, the White House lawns; April 27, 1964
Him and Her, the most well known of the President Johnson’s dogs, were registered beagles born on June 27, 1963. The President frequently played with the dogs and was often photographed with them. In 1964, President Johnson raised the ire of many when he lifted Him by his ears while greeting a group on the White House lawn.
Her died at the White House in November 1964, after she swallowed a stone. Him died in June 1966, when he was hit by a car while chasing a squirrel on the White House. (Source)
The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Campbell adopted a mixed-breed puppy in 1938. Little did they know that their canine companion would become a world famous Coast Guard veteran. He was, literally, a member of the crew, complete with all the necessary enlistment forms and other official paperwork, uniforms, and his own bunk. He sailed on board the combat-tested cutter through World War II and saw much action, both at sea and in port. As Life Magazine reported: “An Old Sea Dog Has Favorite Bars and Plenty of Girls in Every Port.” Until recently he had the honor and distinction of being the only Coast Guardsman to be the subject of a biography! It was Sinbad of the Coast Guard, written by Chief Specialist George R. Foley, USCGR and published by Dodd, Mead and Company of New York during the war. The book made him an international celebrity.
Although he served honorably, he did run into a bit of trouble on occasion, as any sailor might during a long career at sea. He caused an international incident in Greenland, another in Casablanca, and was busted in rank a few times for minor infractions. As another author noted:
“Sinbad is a salty sailor but he’s not a good sailor. He’ll never rate gold hashmarks nor Good Conduct Medals. He’s been on report several times and he’s raised hell in a number of ports. On a few occasions, he has embarrassed the United States Government by creating disturbances in foreign zones. Perhaps that’s why Coast Guardsmen love Sinbad, he’s as bad as the worst and as good as the best of us.”
Regardless of the fact that he liked to blow off a little steam while on liberty, he was a brave and capable sailor when he was on duty. He earned the respect and affection of his shipmates during one famous battle when the Campbell fought it out with the Nazi submarine U-606. The cutter was severely damaged during the fight and the commanding officer ordered all but essential personnel off the ship. They transferred to a nearby destroyer but a tough and hardy few stayed on board the Campbell while the cutter was towed to safety, patching her hull and ensuring that she stayed afloat during the voyage. Among that few was Sinbad.
He served faithfully on board Campbell for eleven years, garnering more sea time than most of his contemporaries, before finally retiring to the Barnegat Light Station. He passed away 30 December 1951 and was laid to rest beneath the station’s flagstaff.
First Lady Grace Coolidge (1879-1957) with the Coolidge family’s pet raccoon, a gift from the town of Peru, Mississippi
Aww, that’s kind of cute. Maybe Hitler wasn’t so bad after all, eh? Let’s see what Wikipedia says:
“Hitler expressed doubts about the cyanide capsules he had received through Heinrich Himmler’s SS. To verify the capsules’ potency, Hitler ordered Dr. Werner Haase to test them on his dog Blondi, and the dog died as a result.”
When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth, Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth, The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe, And storied urns record who rests below. When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen, Not what he was, but what he should have been. But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend, The first to welcome, foremost to defend, Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own, Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone, Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth, Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth – While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven, And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven. Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour, Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power – Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust, Degraded mass of animated dust! Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat, Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit! By nature vile, ennobled but by name, Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame. Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn, Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn. To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise; I never knew but one – and here he lies. Lord Byron [1788-1824], Epitaph to a Dog.
This is quite possibly the most Russian photograph ever taken.
Polar bears look really freaking cute, but they’re the only animal that actively predates on humans.
Wolves will give it a long and hard thought about whether they want to attack humans. Polar bears? Nope. If they see you, and you can’t protect yourself or seek shelter, you’re dead.
Laika (c. 1954 – November 3, 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth.
Laika was a stray dog, originally named Kudryavka (Russian: Кудрявка Little Curly); she underwent training with two other dogs, and was eventually chosen as the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on November 3, 1957, (becoming the first dog in space, to orbit the Earth, and was also the first animal to die in space.) The Soviets designed the spacecraft knowing she would not survive. One Soviet scientist took her home to play with his children because he said “I wanted to do something nice for her. She had so little time left to live.” Laika likely died within hours after launch from overheating, possibly caused by a failure of the central R-7 sustainer to separate from the payload. The true cause and time of her death was not made public until 2002; instead, it was widely reported that she died when her oxygen ran out on day six, or as Soviet government initially claimed, she was euthanized prior to oxygen depletion.
As a kid who was very into rockets and airplanes I remember being told about her (mind you, I wasn’t born until the cold war was ending), but in my childish innocence I assumed she came back okay.
Here’s a statement made by Oleg Gazenko, one of the Sputnik scientists:
“Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it… We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.”
You know what makes me (sorta) happy? They built her a window. Despite the challenges and costs of building a secure window in a pressurized capsule, they did it so the dying dog could look out.
Gazenko speaks of the bond that grew between the dog and him as they worked toward her mission, leading us in unembroidered prose through a brief tale of preparation, hours of readiness on the launch pad, and the launch itself. But the heart of the article for me, and the part to which nothing I’ve found since makes reference, is this: Gazenko tells us that as engineers rushed against deadlines to complete the capsule that would carry the dog into space, outfitting it with equipment to record the details of her death, he took on a battle in Laika’s behalf. Against heavy objections from the decision-makers, he insisted upon the installation of a window. A window in a space capsule, where such a luxury would cause complications and expenses that I can barely imagine. A window for the dog whose monitored demise had been this man’s objective in all the interactions that had bonded her to him with the eager devotion of every well-trained working canine.
Yet Gazenko persisted and prevailed.
Roof In Peace.
Rolf was either the smartest dog in history or the center of a scam that fooled a nation—specifically Nazi Germany. Either way, then, he was pretty awesome. According to the Nazis, Rolf could talk. To put this into context, the Nazis backed a lot of hair-brained schemes during World War II, and one of the most hair-brained was trying to train an army of super-intelligent dogs to share their ideals.
The smartest of these “super dogs” was Rolf. Apparently, Rolf was able to talk by tapping his paw against a board and using a sort of special dog Morse code to communicate with humans. It was using this code that he was able to converse, appreciate poetry, express his pride in the Nazi regime, and vent his blinding hatred of the French. Apparently, he even expressed an interest in joining the war effort and fighting on the front lines. We don’t expect you to believe that a dog could talk, but Hitler certainly did. He took a great interest in Rolf, and history’s greatest monster wasting time on the ridiculous notion that the Nazis had created the world’s first racist dog could only possibly be a good thing.
In the face of disaster, danger, and death, some dogs live up to their reputations as man’s best friend with heartwrenching acts of loyalty. Ciccio, a 12-year-old German shepherd, proves how faithful he is on a daily basis, heading to his nearby church in Italy when the bells begin to ring each afternoon, just as he did with his owner when she was alive. “Dogs go through grief, just as we do,” said Sarah Wilson, an animal behavior expert, in People. “It’s all a part of being attached and loved.” Here, 12 dogs whose courageous and loyal actions say more than words:
1. Ciccio: Truly devoted
Ciccio and his owner lived in the village of San Donaci in the southern region of Puglia, Italy. When the bells tolled each afternoon, he would accompany the woman, who was known in the village as “Maria of the fields,” to church. But when Maria died suddenly in November, Ciccioappeared devastated. He attended the funeral and followed his mistress’ coffin as it was carried into the same local church. Thereafter, he just kept coming back, day after day. His devotion has so impressed the parishioners that they rallied together to care for him, giving him water and food and allowing him to sleep in a covered area outside the church. The priest, while hoping to find a new home for the faithful pup, even lets Ciccio sit in front of the altar during service.
2. Capitan: Faithful forever
Miguel Guzman bought Capitan for his son, Damian, in 2005. After Guzman died the next year, Capitan disappeared. A week after the funeral, the family returned to the cemetery in central Argentina and found Capitan there, howling. The heartbroken dog had found the cemetery and tomb on his own, and has lived there ever since, sleeping on Guzman’s grave. “I’ve tried to bring Capitan home several times,” Damian, 13, says, “but he always comes straight back… He’s looking after my dad.”
3. Hawkeye: Loyal to the end
Hawkeye the chocolate Lab’s owner — 35-year-old Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson — died in the August 6, 2011, helicopter crash that killed 38 American servicemen. Roughly 1,500 mourners came out to a local high school gym in Iowa to pay their respects, and all eyes were on the heartbreaking display of devotion as Hawkeye, unwilling to leave the side of Tumilson’s casket, seemed to grieve for his fallen friend. (Watch the video here.)
4. Kirby: Going the distance
In early August 2011, Kirby, a small black dog whose owner recently died, went missing from his new home. The little pup was found soon after, sitting by his owner’s grave, having walked miles to find it.
5. Unknown: Standing guard
After Japan’s devastating earthquake in March 2011, reporters videotaped a shaking, mud-splattered spaniel sitting next to another dog, which is lying, hardly moving, next to him. The healthier dog refuses to leave his friend and stands guard, sometimes pacing. The dogs were eventually rescued and taken to medics. The video received 10 million hits on YouTube with comments from dog lovers pouring in: “That dog is a better person than most humans,” wrote one. “Loyalty is the best word to use when you describe a dog. Truly, man’s best friend is a well-deserved title,” wrote another.
6. Leao: Keeping vigil
In January 2011, floods and landslides ravaged Brazil, outside Rio de Janeiro. One of the most “gut-wrenching” photos to emerge from the tragedy showed a mixed-breed dog, Leao, lying patiently by the fresh grave of his owner. While news of the fatal landslides spread, it was the image of this lonely, grief-stricken dog that really put a “face on just what a tragedy the country [was] facing,” said Sasha Brown-Worsham at The Stir.
7. Spot: Faithfully waiting
While Wayne Giroux was working away at his lawnmower repair shop, his dog, Spot, waited faithfully for his return every day at the same street corner near their home in Lone Oak, Texas. After Giroux was killed by a drunk driver in June 2010, Spot continued to wait for him. Five months later, the dog still waited, and Giroux’s son, Paul, said he didn’t think the dog would ever give up.
8. Zelda: Looking for her boy
Joshua Reed rescued a sweet, rust-colored dog named Zelda from the road after she was hit by a car. From that moment on, the two were inseparable, said Marci Reed, Joshua’s mother. In 2009, just three years after their chance meeting, 15-year-old Joshua was killed in an ATV accident. Months later, the dog could be seen roaming the Indiana farm roads near the family’s home. “She’s without her boy,” said Marci Reed, “She just sniffs all over looking for her boy.”
9. Unknown: Dodging traffic
This “rather unbelievable” video that surfaced in December 2008 showed one dog’s heroism in the face of danger — and oncoming traffic. After a dog is hit by a car on a freeway, another dog dodges cars and drags his severely injured friend off the highway to safety.
10. Cash: Starving to protect
Jake Baysinger, a 25-year-old Colorado man, had been missing for months in 2008 when, in August, his German Shepherd, Cash, was found roaming the Colorado plains. The dog led searchers to Baysinger’s body. He had reportedly committed suicide, and Cash stayed by his side for six weeks. The dog was badly dehydrated and very thin, and authorities said it was a miracle the animal survived. But his presence prevented Baysinger’s body from being attacked by coyotes.
11. Squeak: Refusing to leave
In March 2002, a 51-year-old farmer named Terry Ford was brutally killed in Zimbabwe. Sitting beside the mutilated corpse was the man’s devoted dog, a 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrior named Squeak. It took family members an hour to coax the dog away: “He was crying when the body was found and he is still crying now,” said one friend of the family.