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Leading ladies: Five famous female dogs in history

At Ipromea, there’s no denying that we are dog-obsessed. As we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, we thought it was the pawfect opportunity to shine a light on some of the most fur-nomenal famous female dogs throughout history.

These exceptional canines have made headlines for their bravery, loyalty, and incredible talents. From saving lives to going to space, these female dogs have proved time and time again that they are truly amazing creatures.

1.    The Four-Legged Pioneer: How Buddy Transformed the Lives of Visually Impaired Individuals

In the late 1920s, an American woman named Dorothy Eustis was inspired by the work done by the first-ever guide dog school in Oldenburg, Germany.

 

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Following the success of Buddy, Dorothy went on to set up her own guide dog school called The Seeing Eye in Switzerland in 1928 and another the following year in New Jersey. 

Already experienced in training dogs for the police and military, Eustis spent several months learning the techniques of training guide dogs before partnering with a blind American man named Morris Frank and training her first guide dog, Buddy.

Thanks to Buddy and these pioneering women, millions of blind individuals have received the gift of independence through guide dogs.

2.    Smoky: The World’s First Therapy Dog

Smoky, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, was discovered in a New Guinea jungle in 1943 by an American soldier. He was later sold to Corporal William A. Wynne for two Australian pounds in a poker game.

 

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Smoky accompanied Wynne on all of his missions, even enduring 150 air raids and parachute jumps. She warned him of incoming shells and guided him to safety, earning her the nickname “angel from a foxhole.”

Though not officially a war dog, Smoky boosted troop morale and comforted Wynne, especially when he fell ill with dengue fever. Her continued loving support established her as the first therapy dog, and her positive impact sparked the use of therapy dogs to assist individuals with depression and PTSD.

3. Laika: The First Dog to Orbit the Earth

Laika, a stray terrier mix, went from rags to riches when she became the first animal to orbit the Earth in 1957. Selected for the mission aboard the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2, Laika soared to a height of 2,000 miles, earning the nickname “Muttnik”.

 

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Sadly, her journey was a one-way trip, and she passed away aboard the spacecraft. Nonetheless, Laika’s courage helped scientists understand the survival conditions in space and paved the way for human spaceflight.

Her legacy endures in popular culture, with numerous songs and stories commemorating her pioneering role. In her honor, Moscow unveiled a small monument portraying a dog atop a rocket in 2008. 

4. Roselle: The Brave Canine of 9/11

Roselle, a Labrador Retriever guide dog, showed extraordinary courage on September 11th, 2001, when she led her owner, Michael Higson, down 78 floors from his office in the World Trade Centre.

 

 

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Despite the chaos around them and Tower Two collapsing, Roselle kept her composure and guided Higson through the debris and smoke to safety. Remarkably, she continued walking with him for another 40 blocks to a friend’s apartment.

After the tragedy, Higson worked for Guide Dogs for the Blind in California, and Roselle was recognised for her bravery with the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence in 2002 and the Hero Dogs from the American Humane Association in 2011.

5. Lucca: The War Hero

Lucca, a mixed-breed dog trained to detect explosives, stands out for her exceptional service to the military. She completed 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, saving countless soldiers’ lives. In 2012, Lucca lost her leg in an IED blast, ending her military career. Her outstanding service was recognised with the PDSA Dickin Medal, the dog version of the British Victoria Cross, making her the first US Marine corps dog to receive this honor.

 

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