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7 inspiring stories of stray dogs saving perfect strangers
These tales of canine heroics will surely cure your Monday blues
A stray dog (a.k.a. an animal that might save your life someday) gets a little love from an animal welfare worker.
A stray dog (a.k.a. an animal that might save your life someday) gets a little love from an animal welfare worker. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

1. Stray dog finds and cares for missing toddler
Julie, a 3-year-old girl living in Pierzwin, Poland, befriended a stray black dog who would often stop by her house for a little attention. And that is exactly where the young girl was last seen, playing with the pup in her backyard, before she went missing earlier this month. Townspeople and rescue officials searched for the girl, but it wasn't until they heard the barks of that faithful dog the next day that they were able to locate Julie, freezing, in a nearby forest. The dog not only ensured that Julie was found, but also helped her survive the night, one firefighter said.

2. Stray dog saves soldiers from bomb
Brin, a mixed breed dog, was found in 2010 starving and wandering alone in Afghanistan. British soldiers took him into their base near Helmand. When the dog showed a particular knack for sniffing out danger, they brought him along on patrol. While on one of these rounds, Brin took to a road near Lashkar Gar and suddenly started barking. He reportedly alerted two soldiers to a hidden bomb that could have killed them. Soon after, Brin was captured by the Taliban during a raid, but was once again rescued by British soldiers. After a campaign to get him out of the war-torn country succeeded, Brin was shipped to England, where he was adopted. "Brin has been through so much, but this never stopped him being loyal, loving, and brave," his new owner said.

3. Stray dog rescues woman from brutal attack
In 2009, a nasty domestic fight in the Australian town of Maningrida was escalating quickly. Alleged attacker Rhys Clayton, 24, reportedly beat his partner in front of family members before dragging her out onto the streets. He might have continued to do who knows what had it not been for a stray dog that stopped the violent fight by biting Clayton in the back, saving the woman from further harm. Clayton was arrested and sentenced to three months in prison.

4. Stray dog saves abandoned baby
In 2005, a stray dog came across a newborn wrapped only in tattered clothing and a plastic bag. The child was alive, but alone in a poor neighborhood near the Ngong Forests in Nairobi, Kenya. Witnesses said the dog carried the abandoned child across a busy road, through some barbed wire, and into a shed where her litter of puppies were living. While further details are sketchy, it seems that the man who owned the shed later noticed the baby, who was then taken to the hospital. Health workers said at the time that though no one had claimed the baby, it was doing well and responding to treatment. People were also donating goods to the child. 

5. Stray dog rescues local farmer from bull
In 1964, a farmer in Willard, Mo., slipped and fell on a patch of ice, getting the attention of one of his Jersey bulls. The large dairy cow, which may have weighed more than 1,000 pounds, turned on the vulnerable man, battering him with his brute strength. The farmer called out to his stock dogs for help, but they just stood barking from afar. Just when things were looking grim, a stray black and white dog, which the farmer had been trying to run off his property, came to the rescue. The dog grabbed a hunk of the bull's hide, growled and hung on until the beast shifted its attention. The farmer was able to crawl to safety.

6. Stray dog saves family from poisonous snake attack
In 1943, a copperhead snake was poised on the threshold of the kitchen of the home of Clarence Blue and his family, who had no clue of the lurking danger. The snake was about to strike when a stray beagle, who just happened to wander into the yard, noticed the predator and pounced. The two tangled and fought. The dog was bitten in the struggle, but managed to scare the snake away. In recognition of their unknown hero, the Blues nursed the dog back to health.

7. Stray dog's howling rescues three people from a house fire
Late one night in 1935, in San Mateo, Calif., three people were asleep in their homes, unaware that a fire was quickly threatening their lives. Had it not been for the barking of a stray dog that woke the endangered residents, a fireman said at the time, they might have perished.

Lauren Hansen is the multimedia editor at TheWeek.com. A graduate of Kenyon College and Northwestern University, she started her career in arts publishing and has since worked at media outlets including the BBC and Frontline.

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