Service dogs combine the best parts of the animal and human world: they all do a job that supports us humans, with the reliability and dedication of a dog.
All service dogs are heroes in their own way, but these 15 deserve a special shout-out:
1. Blaine the blood pressure dog
Blaine helps keep his owner Nicole safe by detecting when her blood pressure is falling dangerously low. He's also a great source of support when Nicole isn't doing very well.
2. Jedi the diabetes dog
Another case where a dog uses his keen sense of smell for a good cause. Jedi can smell when his owner Luke's blood glucose levels are dropping.
3. The dogs of World War 1
Thousands of dogs served on both sides of the huge conflict, usually delivering messages and supplies. Sergeant Stubby, pictured below, earned his rank by warning soldiers of gas attacks and by catching a German spy.
4. Tuco the K9 dog
People fell in love with the Boston Police Department when photos showing his first day on the job were released. This photo from last year's Boston Marathon shows his harness fits him much better now.
Want to meet a dog with a one-of-a-kind nose?
5. Tucker the research dog
Nobody ever said being a service dog was glamorous...Tucker works with the Center for Conservation Biology, following the scent of killer whale poop to help researchers learn more about these creatures. Hey, it's a living!
6. Rick the explosive sniffing dog
During their time together overseas, Air Force Staff Sergeant Amanda Cubbage and Rick searched for explosive devices during countless patrols together, saving as many as 200 soldiers. Their bond was so strong that Amanda adopted Rick after returning home.
7. Blue the detective dog
To help bring attention to dogs at the Fox Valley Humane Association, local police played along with a social media mystery involving a damaged toy. Blue the police dog was on the case!
8. Alpha the diabetes dog
Another service dog who looks after his owner's diabetes levels. Alpha goes to school with Andrew Schalk every day, and has saved his life "multiple times," so it was an easy decision to include the dog in the school's yearbook. He even has his own school ID card!
9. Rollo the K9 officer
After 9 years of loyal service (that's 64 dog years), Rollo's fellow officers sent him off in style with a decorated squad car.
10. Merrick the support dog
Service animals look after our warriors on and off the battlefield. When McLean Raybon returned from Afghanistan his PTSD isolated him from his family, until Merrick the chocolate lab gave him the support he needed to start his life over again.
11. Daisy the cancer sniffing dog
Medical Detection Dogs uses the finely tuned noses of their animal workers to test breath samples for cancer and other serious diseases. Daisy was rewarded after successfully detecting more than 500 cases of cancer.
12. Gema the airport security dog
After spending 5 years keeping passengers at the Orlando International Airport safe, Gema the bag sniffing dog was rewarded with a party, and all of her coworkers were invited.
There are even special service dogs that help patients with much less common conditions.
13. Ultron the autism service dog
14. This adorable K9 officer in training
Hmmm, his outfit seems a little baggy...
15. Keena the avalanche dog
Avalanche rescue dogs can search 8 times faster than humans. Keena is trained to recognize the smell of humans trapped under the snow, and can cover 2.5 acres of terrain in just a half hour.
Share this list if you love service dogs!