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National Dog Day

A day devoted to man’s best friend

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Seconds after Afghan insurgents killed Pfc. Colton W. Rusk in Dec. 2010, his grief-stricken war dog Eli crawled protectively on top of him. Eli was the first survivor listed in Private Rusk’s obituary, and later sprinted to his late handler’s room when the soldier’s parents adopted the canine and brought him to their Texas home for the first time.

Servus, a rescue dog, was searching for survivors at Ground Zero a day after 9-11 when he plunged into a 9-foot hole and began suffering a seizure, his tongue turning purple. Vets resuscitated and released the Belgian Malinois, but were shocked to see him dart to a cop car assigned to transport rescue canines to the wreckage. Servus ignored repeated commands from his handler to exit the vehicle and continued instead to help rescuers for seven more hours.

It also took a tail-wagger to hunt down the world’s most-wanted man, and when President Obama thanked the Seals who killed Osama bin Laden, he named only one elite commando — war hound Cairo who led troopers to the terrorist’s doorstep.

Aug. 26 is National Dog Day, and a time to celebrate man’s wag-nificent friend.

Pawsome pooches are some of the finest good Samaritans around, delivering comfort and joy, assisting cops, helping the blind see, recovering catastrophe victims from rubble, sniffing out bombs, and putting themselves in harm’s way for us.

Canadian Austin Forman, 11, literally had an angel on his side when his dog of the same name repelled a cougar attack from less than 10 feet away, jumping into the ferocious feline’s path and bearing the brunt of the attack.

Courageous canines are bronzed for their bravery.

A statue of sled dog Balto stares imperiously from a rock outcropping in Central Park, immortalizing the Siberian husky who hauled life-saving supplies to Alaskans dying of a diphtheria outbreak in 1925, traveling through a blinding blizzard across 674 miles of formidable terrain.

National Dog Day is an opportunity to celebrate man’s best friend for improving our lives, shaping our destinies, and showering us with unconditional love — unlike any other force of nature.

Follow me on Twitter @BritShavana

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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