A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

The Loyalty of Dogs Told Through 20 Incredible Stories

Dogs are amazing creatures. One of the best things about them is their loyalty. If you have a dog yourself, you'll probably be able to relate to at least one of these stories about how loyal dogs are to their owners.

Close up portrait of smiling Asian woman hugging dog sitting on bed in warm sunlight
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Loyal creatures, proud owners

Reader’s Digest’s February cover story featured a friendly-looking pup and talked all about what your pet wants you to know. To go along with the cover story, our Editor in Chief, Bruce Kelley talked about his beloved dog, Sadie, in his cover letter highlighting how smart she was. He challenged readers to write in showing him how their dog was smarter than Sadie. If they convince him, they would get a free subscription to Reader’s Digest for a year. There were some pretty hilarious and impressive stories about smart dogs, but a common theme among the reader’s responses was how loyal their dogs are to them. Here are some of the stories we thought were worth sharing. For more heartwarming dog stories, read about these shelter dogs that saved their owners’ lives.

Children's feet and dog's feet
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Protecting their young

When we brought our daughter, Elyse, home from the hospital, our dog, Becca, seemed to roll her eyes as if to say, “Really? Another kid?” But we knew she really loved our kids. At the age of two, Elyse decided to take a stroll down our dead-end street while her father was washing the car. Becca kept her safe the whole time by calmly circling around her again and again to keep her off of the street and on the grass. Luckily, our neighbor quickly noticed that Elyse had gotten away, but Becca sprung right into action when she knew her little sister could possibly be in danger. —Donna Brazen. These are the best dog breeds for kids.

Courtesy Shelly Peavy

The way home

Our black lab, Chloe, was a little over a year when she disappeared in January. It was one of the coldest weeks of the year in Mississippi, the temperatures at night dropped into the teens. We thought we had lost our pup for good, but after a week she magically showed up on our doorstep. She was pretty banged up and we had to nurse her back to health but we were so grateful we had her home again. We’ll never know what happened to her during that week, but she knew how to find her way home to her family. —Shelly Peavy

luke pomeranian on the couch
Courtesy Cheryl Geisler

Comfort by my side

My pomeranian, Luke is as smart as a whip. He’s full of energy, but he can sense when I’m sad and stays by my side and even lays his head on my chest until I cheer up. When I learned about the passing of my brother-in-law, Luke stayed by my side for the entire day except for when he had to go outside to go to the bathroom. —Cheryl Geisler. These are the signs that your dog really does trust you.

cute rottweiler dog on the snow background
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Loyal comedian

I had a Rottweiler named Sugar Bear for 14 years. She was an amazing dog and had a great sense of humor. She would voluntarily wear silly devil horns on her head for hours on Halloween seeming to laugh along with the children that came to the house to trick or treat. Even on her last day with us, she brought joy to a whole group of people. Family was gathered around her giving her lots of pats when she loudly passed gas, there was a moment of silence before everyone in the room burst into laughter. She looked around the room with a huge smile on her face, huffing in laughter right along with us. —Lori Coronado

Senior mans hand wrapped around long haired pedigree dog. Blond domestic dog next to elderly man at home indoors, human friend
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Sadie helped us through the loss of Bella

After our grandson told us he couldn’t keep his dog, Sadie, we took her in. We were a little hesitant about it and sadly two days after we got her we had to put our own dog, Bella down. Bella was the love of my husband’s life and he was very torn up when she left us. A few days after we put her down, my husband was sitting in his recliner and Sadie could tell he was upset. She circled around him two times, jumped up in his lap, put her paws under both of his arms to hug him, and put her head on his shoulder and they cried together. We knew at that moment she would be in our home and hearts forever. —Carole Swickert

photos of nell the dog. carpet background.
Courtesy Sandra Lang

Watching our walker

Our English Shephard, Nell, was a herding dog that always watched over our five children. When our youngest, Terri, was first learning to walk Nell would keep a close eye on her. If Terri was heading towards the stairs, Nell would block her from getting too close to the top step with her paws. One day, she came and got me while I was in the bathroom upstairs. She lead me downstairs where I discovered that Terri had gotten outside and was heading down our driveway towards the road. Nell helped save the day and keep our Terri safe. —Sandra Lang. If you’re not already crying from these sweet stories, these stories of rescue dogs that found the homes they deserve will make you.

Girl giving a treat to happy dog.
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A loyal listener

Our dog Rocky was super smart from the second we got him. At only 10 weeks he knew almost all of the basic commands. Then, he slowly started to not listen when I would tell him to roll over or sit. When it was time to take an AKC basic obedience class I say him down, looked him in the eyes, and told him he needed to listen to me so we could pass the test. During the test, he listened to everything I said and he passed.  He just smiles in his cute head tilted way and gives me a look that says it all: I did it for you but don’t get too excited—I also wanted to look good and I did. —Mary Gordon

governor the dog
Courtesy Colleen Homb

Barking the arrival

We got our dog Governor as a puppy. He came to live with us before we had any kids or other dogs. He is an amazingly intuitive dog. When I was at the hospital having our first daughter he went to stay with a friend. Our daughter, Adelai was born at 4:30 am. The following day my husband called our friend to tell her the good news. She couldn’t believe it, Governor who had been soundly sleeping got up at 4:30 am, barked 3 times and then laid back down. When our second daughter was born, he was staying with the same friend. My husband called to tell her about Cora, our newest addition and our friend said she already knew, Governor told her by barking 3 times in the middle of the night when she was born. Our third daughter was born during the workday and no one was there to hear him, but I like to believe that he shouted Rowen’s arrival to the rooftops as well. —Colleen Homb

Rottweiler breed dog close-up portrait with tongue out
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My protector

My rottweiler Maggie had a very strong personality and attitude, but she was also my loyal protector. She never left my side. She liked to stay with me in the evening while I watched tv until I let her out one last time at 10 p.m. and then went to bed. There were a few nights where I would watch one more episode after letting her out. When we got back inside she would start to head towards the bedroom, but stop when she saw that I wasn’t close behind. She would bark to tell me it was time for bed and when I told her I wasn’t ready she would sigh and come back to sit by my side. Then, when my show as over she would happily follow me to bed. —Cathi Demling. If you think your dog is smart, these are the 20 smartest dog breeds, ranked.

Boxer Puppy Laying Down
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Preparing for the voyage

My wife and I were blessed to have a wonderful, playful boxer named Texas. My wife had raised him since he was only six weeks old. He never left her side and faithfully slept at the foot of the bed with her pink bathrobe each night. When my wife was diagnosed with ALS and had to be moved out of our bedroom and into a hospital bed, Tex still slept right by her feet for six whole months even though he barely fit. My wife was eventually moved to hospice and when I brought Tex to visit her he hopped right up onto the bed and put his paws on her hand. That night Tex was restless and chose to sleep on the floor. When I woke up the next morning I discovered that Tex had passed away after covering himself with my wife’s pink bathrobe. My wife passed away the next day from the ravages of ALS. At the memorial service people told me that Texas knew my wife would shortly be taking a voyage of no return; and that he loved her so much that he went ahead to prepare her for the voyage and be her faithful companion and give her comfort like he always did. —Jim Sherrard. These are the bravest dogs in history.

best friends
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Always keeping guard

My dog Cela was always watching out for everybody else. One particularly windy night when I was letting Cela and her brother Gany out before bed the back door swung open without me noticing. Our indoor cat ran outside and Cela, knowing that she wasn’t built to face the outdoors, ran after her. She herded the cat back indoors even though she’s not a herding dog and was never taught how to do that but instead sprung into action when she knew one of her family members was in danger. —Kaethe Mentrum

charlie dog
Courtesy Charlene Wexler

A new life for our family

After my 12-year-old son passed away from leukemia, my husband brought home a collie puppy that we named Charlie. At first, I resented how full of life he was, but I slowly started to warm up to him. He would jump up on me and bark, and if I ever became angry he would lick my face. He helped me get out of bed and get back to normal. He would go skiing with my husband, play with my son, and was a great companion to my dad. Therapy was recommended for my family after my son died, but we didn’t need it, we had Charlie. —Charlene Wexler. These before and after dog adoption photos will melt your heart.

tucker the dog
Courtesy Terry Davis

Night guard

We have a 16-year-old puggle named Tucker that has no idea he’s a dog. He really just thinks he is part of the family. He loves to greet every person in the room and give them hugs when it’s time for them to leave. He’s also even saved my life a few times. I’m a diabetic and when my sugar gets low at night, he wakes me up and will not leave me alone until I’m feeling better. —Terry Davis

Two Canine Dog Companions Look at the Camera
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Making up for what is lost

I have two “superdogs”, Toby and Bailey. When I lost my other dog, Bijon, they started doing things that he would do to cheer me up. They missed him too, but they knew I needed comfort more. Dogs really love us and want us to be happy and the sometimes show you that in remarkable ways. —Dianne Grooms

skippy the corgi
Courtesy Becky Meyers

Adapted to our needs

My family and I have a Welsh Corgi named Skippy. I am profoundly hearing-impaired as are my two children. Almost as soon as Skippy came to live with us, she seemed to sense that my children and I could not hear. When someone would come to the door, Skippy did not bark but instead would jump up from where she was, go to the door to make sure someone was there, and then she would run over to me and nudge me until I got to the door. What was so impressive about this behavior is that Skippy wouldn’t do it for my husband, who has perfect hearing. If she wanted to get his attention she would bark. She adapted to her family very quickly and remains loyal to this day. —Becky Meyers. These are the things shelter dogs wish you knew.

Mixed Breed Puppy Dog - Husky and Labrador Retriever - Photographic Effects
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Calling for help

When I fell on a slippery grassy slope, I lost hold of my beloved Duffie’s leash. In spite of his freedom, he stayed by my side, barking for someone to come to my aid. Duffie died at the age of seventeen and would have lived longer, had I not, as my final act of love, had him put down. That was in 2001. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my super dog. —Bonnie Hannes

colby the dog
Courtesy Robyn Sierchio

Patiently teaching the young

Colby was a retired seeing eye dog and lived with my brother. In 1997 my children and I came to live there too. My youngest, Rachel, was one year old at the time. We had been living in the house for about a month, and I was sitting in the living room keeping an eye on Rachel. She was crawling around. Colby was laying down on the floor kind of half asleep. Rachel crawled over to Colby and pushed herself up so that she was leaning on his back. Rachel started rocking back and forth. Colby very slowly got up. I thought that maybe he was tired of Rachel and would leave the room. As Colby got up, Rachel ended up standing next to him, holding onto his back. Colby stood there for a bit and then slowly started walking. Rachel took a few steps with Colby and then plopped down on her bottom on the floor. Colby sank to the floor. In a bit, Rachel started leaning on Colby’s back again. Again, Colby rose up, and slowly started walking. Rachel took a few steps, wobbled and sank to the floor. I saw this whole scenario repeated over and over. At first, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Finally, I understood. Colby was teaching Rachel to walk! This happened a long time ago. Rachel is now 23, and Colby is gone. Even so, every once in a while I think of that smart, wonderful dog Colby. —Robyn Sierchio

three dogs on a couch
Courtesy Tina Viozzi
Pud’n is the black and tan houndie mix, Bryn is the brindle pitbull, and Morgan is the coonhound-Shephard mix

All to herself

My dog Pud’n a pointer-hound mix rescue has truly stolen my heart. One evening Pud and I were sitting on the couch with her two furry siblings. She suddenly ran into the hall to the front door and started barking as if someone was there. Her two siblings immediately followed her. Within seconds Pud’n comes prancing into the living room and jumps up right next to me, sighing with contentment. I laughed like crazy knowing what a genius she was to distract the other just to be next to me herself. —Tina Viozzi. If you want to help, these are the things animal shelters desperatly need right now.

dutch the dog
Courtesy Diana Herkimer

He knows when he’s needed

My sister is a psychologist and her dog Dutch sits in on her sessions. If tension arises between spouses, he immediately gets up from his sleeping position and goes back and forth between man and woman nosing their hands until they reach out to pet him. Tension is released immediately. He truly is an emotional support dog. —Diana Herkimer

loki the dog
Courtesy Christine Barczak

He helped heal me

I got my dog Loki while in the middle of battling a very rare form of cancer. When we got him from the shelter you could see his ribs and he was in pretty rough shape. We helped each other heal. He helped me feel needed and got me moving outside and some much needed fresh air. When he wanted to play he would grin and dance and invite me to join in. When I played music he would sing along with me. And when the tears and frustration came, he would curl up on my lap (yes, a 65-pound lap dog!), look into my eyes, and somehow, I knew tomorrow would be a better day. Loki healed my body, my heart, and my soul. He knew what I needed even when I did not. As I look back and see how we both grew and got healthier together, I am so awed and grateful.  —Christine Barczak. 

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan Cutolo is a former senior production editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine, where she lives, and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.