When we think of the phrase superhero with respect to animals, it is easy for us to immediately thinks of those animals who we know do remarkable jobs. These would include guide dogs, bomb disposal dogs and medical detection dogs.
- Guide dogs have their own superhero costume. When they are wearing their harness, they are in Superman mode and know they have a job to do. Once the harness is off, they know it is play time and will often act like any other family pet. Always ask before making a fuss of a guide dog in their harness, as distracting them while working could endanger their owner.
- Bomb disposal dogs can decern scents even when they have been masked with another odour. (You can’t pull wool over their noses!)
- Bio-detection dogs can detect odours of specific diseases in urine, breath or sweat and aid life saving early detection of conditions such as cancer. Although in its infancy, this has huge potential.
While these animals play an incredible role in our society and the field of bio-detection has scope for huge developments in the future, I have decided to also mention the unspoken superheroes right here in our own homes.
Every pet is a little superhero, whether it be the day-to-day companionship or the help and support they unconditionally offer us through difficult times in our lives. Our pets offer us friendship and for some they can prevent loneliness. For these people they can offer a sense of routine and socialisation and therefore many care homes will even allow pets to move in with them.
Pets can act as a confident in offering a non-judgmental ear, in fact there is probably a lot that we, as humans, could learn from our animal counterparts. They teach us the joy and excitement in the small things in life. We are always being told we should get more sleep, well most cats I know definitely live by this mantra.
In fact, pets of all shapes and sizes can teach us a lot. They can teach us about responsibility, relationships and it has also been shown that they can increase our level of empathy. As I mentioned in the Spring edition they can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
Three Superheroes that defy our expectations:
There are countless stories of carrier pigeons delivery life saving messages during World War 1. One pigeon in particular, named Cher Ami, was awarded recognition for the delivery of 12 important messages. The last of which saved 194 US soldiers in 1918, which she delivered despite being shot.
The giant African pouched rat, named Magawa, was awarded a PDSA Gold Medal for discovering 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance in Cambodia. The PDSA Gold Medal is known as the equivalent of the George Cross recognising acts of heroism.
An ex-dressage horse name, Doctor Peyo, and his owner now spend their time doing the rounds in a French hospital in Calais supporting terminally ill patients. He helps with end-of-life care and appears to comfort and reduce anxiety in patients often stay with them until the very end.