Humans have walked alongside domesticated dogs for at least 15,000 years, and possibly twice as long as that. The oldest known grave where humans and dogs were buried together dates back to the Paleolithic era, proving not only domestication, but also that there was an emotional bond between humans and canines.
It’s impossible to imagine how many human lives our faithful friends have saved in all those millennia — the countless times dogs have alerted us to danger and protected us from threats, dragged us from rivers or found us when we’ve fallen and can no longer walk. Our trusted canines have often served as an extension of our eyes and ears — as well as our hearts.
Dogs are more than capable of being heroes, and while most of their brave and selfless deeds have been lost to history, others have been recorded for posterity. Here are some of those heroic dogs, from the ancient world to the modern age.
In 456 BCE, a group of Persian soldiers tried to sneak into the Greek city of Corinth with the intention of holding the city until a much larger force could launch a full-scale attack. They knew that about 50 dogs were posted around the city to warn of enemy incursions, and so they quietly set about eliminating the canine guards. Only one survived, a dog named Soter. Soter managed to escape, but he didn’t run. He fulfilled his duty by alerting the Corinthian garrison of the sneak attack. The Corinthians repelled the Persians and sent out for immediate reinforcements. Soter was later honored with a pension and a silver collar that read, “To Soter, defender and savior of Corinth, placed under the protection of his friends.”