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Famous Pets You Might Not Have Heard Of!

reading time: 5 minutes

Famous Pets You Might Not Have Heard Of!

We all love our pets, and some of them can be just as special, heroic, and interesting as humans! Here, we’ll take a look at history’s best dogs and cats, and how they have made a difference.

Togo and Balto

Balto and Togo were both sled dogs on ‘The Serum Run’, where an antitoxin was rushed to Nome, Alaska in 1925 to save the area from an outbreak of diphtheria.

Balto, as lead dog on the blizzard-ridden, 55-mile final leg of the run, achieved fame across the world, and was honoured with a statue in Central Park. He died eight years later, but his legacy lives on through novels, films, and other media.

Togo was said to be a troublemaking puppy at first, but grew into a natural, intelligent leader. He ran the greatest length during the run through the worst conditions, saving his team along the way. He received much adoration, and a gold medal from Roald Amundsen, in the time after the run. Posthumously, Togo was further honoured with his own statue, a 2019 film, and was named the most heroic dog of all time by Time magazine in 2011.


Mancs was a male German Shepherd known for his extraordinary search and rescue talents. The most famous dog on Hungary’s Spider Special Rescue Team, Mancs could not only locate earthquake victims trapped beneath rubble, but performed different actions to communicate if the person was alive or dead to his crew.

His most famous effort came in 1999, helping to rescue a three year old girl who had been trapped for 82 hours. She attended the 2015 European Citizen’s Prize ceremony for Mancs’ crew as a guest of honour, and visited the statue of Mancs that stands to commemorate his heroism.


Thought to be the world’s greatest mouser, Towser the tortoiseshell even holds a Guinness World Record. Towser gallantly stood guard for 24 years in Scotland’s Glenturret Distillery, and it’s estimated she caught 28,899 mice! She remains well-known to this day, and has had a dedicated bronze statue erected for her at Glenturret. She also now has multiple successors.


Kuno is a Belgian Malinois awarded the Dickin Medal, considered to be the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, in 2020. During a Special Boat Service raid, Kuno wrestled a gunman to the ground in spite of gun wounds sustained to both hind legs. One rear paw was later amputated, and Kuno now wears a prosthetic.


Trakr, a Canadian police dog, was amongst volunteers helping find victims of the September 11 attacks in New York City. He was actually responsible for finding the last survivor still amongst the rubble, twenty-six hours post-collapse.

In 2008, Trakr’s tale continued when he was named the world’s most ‘clone-worthy’ dog as part of a essay contest. He was subsequently cloned, and the five puppies were given to Trakr’s handler, who was alongside him during his noble rescue effort.


Oscar was a therapy cat, known for being able to ‘predict’ when patients would pass away. One of six cats adopted in 2005 by the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island, USA, Oscar was sometimes noted as being quite aloof generally.

However, it was soon noticed that Oscar sat with certain patients, and within several hours, they died. After he did this frequently, staff were able to begin notifying loved ones prior to patients dying. It is believed Oscar did this up to one hundred times.


A stray terrier found in London after WWII air raids, Rip is credited with saving over 100 lives. Recruited as the first search and rescue dog for Southill Street Air Raid Patrol, despite not being properly trained, he is thought to be partially responsible for the widespread adoption of search and rescue dogs in the latter years of the Second World War. Rip was awarded the Dickin Medal within two years of its creation. He wore the medal proudly on his collar until he passed away in 1945.

We hope you’ve learned something interesting, and have enjoyed reading about these special pets from history!

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