The Week magazine offers a list of some of the dogs who made big news over the last year. The stories range from heartwarming to cute to silly, and it’s a good reminder of just how important dogs are to every facet of human life. Here’s a taste:
7. The stray dog that finished a 1,100-mile race across China
During an arduous 1,100-mile, 24-day biking race across mountainous China, a diminutive stray dog latched onto the group of athletes after they offered her a chicken leg. But after three days of loyally running alongside the speeding cyclists, the mutt, who they called Xiao Sa, or Little Sa, was accepted as an official part of the team. “I think we have definitely moved beyond food,” said one cyclist remarking on the dog’s curious motivation. While the small white-and-tan dog did most of the running, at times, when the athletes had to trek back down the mountains, at speeds that would surely leave their new little friend in the dust, she was hoisted up into a makeshift box on the back of a bike. The dog’s persistence became the group’s motivation as they tried to complete the task themselves. “She injected power unto us,” said one cyclist. Upon finishing, Xiao Sa was taken to a vet and declared healthy. She was later adopted by one of the cyclists, which, really, is the least the humans could do.
8. The dog that saved its own life by calling the police
We’ve often heard the tale of the puppy that proves its “man’s best friend” status by saving its owner’s life. But this year, there was George, a 2-year-old basset hound in West Yorkshire, England, who reworked the well-worn script a bit, literally calling for help to save himself. Home alone, George had knocked the phone to the floor and was strangling himself with the handset’s cord when he apparently dialed 999 — England’s 911 equivalent — in a panic. The operator heard only frantic gasps and, assuming someone was desperately sick or reeling from an attack, sent police to the house. The dog was found and rescued from the cord. “Incredibly, you could see where his paw print was on the phone,” said the neighbor, “he literally saved his own life.”