Smoky the dog became a war hero
There’s no shortage of stories of dogs performing heroic acts during wartime. But Smoky wasn’t a husky, or a Newfoundland, or a big, bulky dog saving the day. She was a Yorkie! During World War II, American soldiers were under attack on an airfield in the Philippines. The only way they could communicate from the airfield was by running telephone lines through an underground pipe. Getting humans to place the lines would’ve been challenging and dangerous, so it was Smoky to the rescue! She belonged to a corporal, who called her and helped her find the way through the pipe with the wires attached to her collar. In addition to saving as many as 250 people’s lives by allowing the construction of the communication line, Smoky was also just a morale booster and a calming, happy presence to have around for the soldiers and for hospital patients. She is remembered as one of the earliest-ever therapy dogs.
Pickles the collie thwarted a robbery
And a high-profile robbery, no less. In 1966, the Jules Rimet trophy (the precursor to the FIFA World Cup trophy) was stolen from its supposedly-secure location in London’s Central Hall shortly before the start of the World Cup. The British detectives on the case all came up empty. High-profile companies offered rewards to anyone who found the trophy. And then, a week after the cup disappeared, a man named David Corbett was walking his dog in a South London neighborhood when the pup, Pickles, started sniffing around underneath a bush. Corbett came over to investigate, and, sure enough, the Jules Rimet trophy was tucked underneath, wrapped in newspaper. For his find, Pickles received a silver medal from the National Canine Defence League and even appeared in a spy film called The Spy with a Cold Nose. It’s especially incredible considering that Pickles wasn’t a police dog, or specially trained in any way—he was a regular pet! That’s definitely proof that dogs have some serious superpowers.
Snowball the cat helped solve a murder
Wan Fahmy Redzuan/Shutterstock
In 1994, a murder case rocked the small Prince Edward Island, located off the coast of Canada. A 32-year-old woman named Shirley Duaguay went missing, and her body was found months later. Most people believed that her estranged husband, who was known to be abusive, was to blame. However, there was no evidence to convict him. That is until someone found a bag in the woods containing a blood-stained jacket, sneakers, and some white cat hairs. The victim’s husband, Douglas Beamish, owned a white cat named Snowball. A geneticist at the United Cancer Institute ran a DNA test and matched the cat hairs from the bag with Snowball’s DNA. Paired with some evidence from the victim’s body, Snowball’s “testimony” was enough to convict Beamish. It was the first time non-human DNA was used in a murder case. Since then, pet DNA has helped solve many violent crimes.