Anyone who has ever owned a collie knows of the heroic little things they do everyday. From an extra nudge when you are feeling down to being so glad to see you at the end of a long hard day that your troubles melt away. I have had collies protect me when I have been threatened and prevent children from harm. Through the years collies have been known to be among the most courageous dogs in America honored as the dog hero of the year begining in 1954, the dog performing the most outstanding act of courage leading to the saving of life or property. The Collie has surpassed the fiction of the written word and performances on TV to become real heros, in the history of the Dog Hero Of The Year Program, the collie has earned it 9 times, more than any other breed.
In 1954, Tang was the winner of the first annual Ken-L Ration hero award. Tang was a large friendly Collie from Texas, who saved no fewer than five children from death or severe injury. Four times Tang jumped in front of swift moving cars and thrust his powerful bulk against a child to push them to the curb just seconds before tragedy could strike. On another occasion he planted himself squarely in front of a parked milk delivery truck and refused to budge, barking loudly the whole time. The cause of the strange behavior of the normally friendly dog was found to be that a two-year-old girl had climbed into the back of his truck, she would have most certainly haven fallen when the trucked started to move. The moment the child was removed from the truck Tang stopped his barking and returned to the sidewalk.
A beautiful sable Collie from Illinois, named Blaze became the second Collie to win the annual hero award, in 1957. One day, while the 2 1/2 yr old daughter of Blaze's owners was playing in the yard, she decided to get a better look at their baby pigs that were in a fenced enclosure nearby. The 2 yr old daughter crawled through the fence, infuriating the mother sow who charged her, knocked her down and severely mauled and bit her, when Blaze a short distance away went into action. Despite an the fear he had of this massive hog, Blaze never hesitated. With a single leap, he cleared the fence and attacked the sow so savagely that she gave ground. The injured child, was given enough time to crawl back under the fence to safety, where her parents rushed her to the hospital.
Duke, a Collie from Niles, Ohio was the 1961 Ken-L ration dog hero award winner. It was a windy March afternoon when the 10yr old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Grantz went to the backyard to burn some papers. The wind caused the child's skirt to billow and suddenly burst into flames as flying ashes caught it. The terrified girl panic-stricken, began to run toward the house. Duke, who was nearby, took in the situation with a glance. Barking loudly he overtook the child and although possessing the average animals dread of fire, he seized her flaming skirt in his teeth and tore and pawed the garment off of her to the ground, sustaining burns to his mouth in the process.
A shy Collie from Budd Lake, NJ who saved nearly 300 Dairy goats in a raging fire that leveled most of his master's dairy goat farm was awarded the 1964 dog hero of the year ward. In the early hours of the morning a fire had been roaring in the farm's maternity barn for some time before Buddy's frantic barks of warning were heard by his masters. Racing to the yard, they were astonished and elated to see Buddy marching back and forth with efficiency, watching over the entire flock of 70 expectant mother goats he had herded out of the barn.
In 1966 a stout hearted Collie from Priest River, Idaho with the appropriate name of Hero, was named winner of the 13th annual hero award. Hero was the first show dog to ever capture the honor! It was a nice day on the owners farm. She was feeding horses while her 3yr old son was playing on a hay stack in the barn. All the sudden she heard her son scream, she looked up and saw him racing across the floor toward the end of the barn with a maddened horse racing after him. The mother shouted for "Hero", although she had no idea where he was. At this desperate moment, a blue and white form came sailing through the air and propelled itself directly at the horse. It was Hero, transformed from his usual friendly self into a sudden blaze of fury. Before the horse's lethal hooves could descend on the helpless child, Hero had seized the animal by the nose and was hanging on grimly. The enraged horse swung the dog furiously to one side and then the other, and finally succeeded in hurling him against the tractor wheel, he was up an instant later and flying back at the horse before the latter could bring its feet down on the child. Battling an adversary fifteen times his size, Hero gave the mother time to drag the child to safety under the tractor. Suddenly the horse decided to break off the fight and raced out the door. Hero chased close behind, and stopped only after he saw it disappear, with blood pouring from his nose and mouth....The mother rushed Hero to the vets, where it was found that Hero had suffered from crushed forehead and had five teeth either broken or knocked out, and four ribs were broken.... but just 6 weeks later, he lined up with other Collies in a dog show and won THREE more points toward his Championship.
In 1980, Woodie a Collie mix leapt off an eighty foot cliff to rescue his owner's boyfriend from drowning. As Rae Anne, Ray and Woodie were walking along a nature trail in the Rocky River Reservation, Ray an amateur photographer, desided to capture a spectacular view from atop a steep shale cliff. Rae Anne and Woodie waited on the path while Ray disappeared over the hill. Suddenly, the usually well-behaved Woodie began twisting and tugging to escape from Rae Anne. She let go of him and he raced ahead. When Rae Anne reached the brink, she saw Ray lying unconscious in a stream 80 feet below. Woodie, who broke both hips in the jump, was by his side nudging Ray's face to keep it out of the water. Both Ray and Woodie survived.
In 1989, Buddy a Collie mix was dog hero of the year for alerting a disabled grandmother to a house fire and therby ensuring the escape to safety of the woman with limited vision.
In Melbourne, Australia, Mrs. Irene Hughes, a Collie breeder, reported two of her dogs stolen the spring of 1954. Two weeks later she saw one of her other Collies trotting from the house with a piece of meat in his mouth. She followed and he went straight to an abandoned mineshaft where he dropped the meat. Fifteen feet below where her two lost Collies, kept alive by their faithful friend.
Papillon, the next Collie, dog hero of the year award winner of 1990 something. Papillon, was a big male sable collie. When his owner put their 5 week old baby down for a nap, she went and took a shower, about 10 minutes later, Papillon started to bark like crazy, and charged the bathroom door so hard, he knocked it off its hinges, and tore down the shower curtain, he then ran into the babies room, jumped up on the side of the crib, where it was then, his owner found out, the baby had stopped breathing. Papillon had saved the baby's life!