Dogs perform many types of jobs, for therapy, enforcing the law, assisting the blind, herding livestock, and more. But there are some dogs with interesting jobs that you may not have heard of before. What’s more, many of those jobs literally save lives. Let’s examine some of these lesser-known dog jobs.
Should you ever find yourself struggling in the water and the stars from “Baywatch” aren’t on duty, count yourself lucky if a Newfoundland (Newfie) has got the watch. Perhaps you’re thinking, “How can a dog rescue somebody who’s drowning?” It so happens that Newfies are well adapted to get the job done.
According to Ferruccio Pilenga, the founder of the Italian School for Rescue Dogs, a Newfie’s fur “is waterproof, and the shape of its whole body is really designed for swimming.”
Newfies are also incredibly strong and weigh as much as 150 pounds. What’s more, they have webbed feet and swim in a breaststroke manner as opposed to a doggy paddle, giving them extra swimming power. Newfie’s have a “soft mouth,” meaning they can grasp a person with their mouth without breaking the skin. Their tender nature drives them to want to help people.
Check out this BBC video about a Newfie who saved a woman’s life.
When an airplane and a bird collide, it’s called a bird strike. It’s always deadly for the bird, but rarely for humans—although it’s dangerous and can cause millions of dollars of damage to aircraft. Bird strikes mostly occur during takeoff and landing, which means they happen near runways.
That’s where bird dogs play a critical role. They chase birds and other wildlife from runways.
“Every airport has problems with bird strikes and wildlife on the airfield,” said Nick Keller, assistant director at the Yeager Airport in West Virginia. That’s why the airport purchased Hercules, a dog trained to help keep runways safe for people and animals.
Although Hercules had to be trained, chasing away birds, deer, coyotes and other animals comes naturally to many dogs because it taps into their predatorial wolf ancestry. Usually, bird dogs don’t make the kill; they just give chase. As a result, the problem of bird strikes is dealt with in the most humane way possible. People are kept safe. Birds are kept safe. And bird dogs get to release their free spirit by doing what comes naturally.