My friend Sue Ashline owns a tattered scrapbook full of faded yellow newspaper clippings about hero dogs. All of the articles were cut out of the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune between 1924 and1945 by some long forgotten dog lover. I'll post a few here from time to time because incredible dog stories, whether fib, fable, fiction or fact, are always worthy of a second printing.
Canine tall tales are always amusing, but dig a little deeper and you'll find that tales of dogged endurance reflect our own human struggles.
Scrappy depression era survivors: The cleverness of the canine race was a never-ending source of interest to newspaper readers in the 1930s. Surviving in a hostile environment by your own wits, even if it meant breaking the law, was OK.
Jack-of-all-trade types down on the farm: Saving children from one thing after another was all in a days work for this guy. Canine hero awards were big stories on slow news days. The caption reads: "Pal, faithful friend of the children at Del Valle farm, being decorated by one of the children."
Relying on the kindness of strangers: Everybody needed a hand out during the depression. The caption reads, "After his owner sold the old bus, this pooch remained under the car for twelve days on a second-hand lot, and refused to budge even for food until the Detroit Humane Society stepped in and rescued him from starvation."
Canine soldier heroes in war: War dogs were honored time and again as brave soldiers who nearly perished while defending the lives of their human companions. AP stories were usually accompanied by photographs of dramatic re-enanctments.
Today dog anecdotes are mostly relegated to websites and super market stand tabloids. To find new fangled versions of old fashioned yarns visit The American Humane Association's Hero Dog website.