Larry – Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
Since 1515, cats have been used to hunt rodents at 10 Downing Street, home of the the UK’s Prime Minister. The post has been held by Larry since 2011, who was selected by Prime Minister David Cameron and his family from Battersea Dogs and Cats home.
However, Larry’s job at 10 Downing Street hasn’t always ran smoothly, with rumors of him being lazy, and even sacked. Nigel Nelson from The People explained “The final straw came on Thursday when Mr Cameron caught Larry cat-napping on his chair in his No.10 study as another mouse scurried across the room. When he tried to wake Larry to do his duty one eye opened but the moggy wouldn’t budge.”
Although Larry officially holds the title, he now shares the duties with another cat, Freya who is owned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne as she is a “tougher” and “more street-wise predator”. Previous cats to hold the title include Sybil, who served while Gordon Brown was in office (the two reportedly didn’t get along) and Wilberforce, the longest serving cat who held the post for 18 years under Edward Heath right up to Margret Thatcher.
Sergeant Stubby – U.S. War Dog
Sergeant Stubby was unique in that he was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. He served the US Army for 18 months, and participated in 17 battles. Stubby originally wondered soldier training grounds in Yale Field, New Haven and one soldier, Corporal Robert Conroy, developed a fondness for the dog. When the time came to ship out, he smuggled Stubby on board and when discovered by a superior officer, Stubby saluted him as he was trained. The Commanding officer was so impressed that he allowed Stubby to stay.
A few of his heroic acts include saving his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks (after being gassed himself and recognizing the smell), finding and comforting the wounded, warning soldiers to cover in artillery attacks (he could hear the whining sounds before any human could) and he even caught a German spy, holding him by his pants until his comrades found him.
Upon returning home, Stubby was treated as a celebrity, participating in many parades and even got to meet U.S. presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding.
Fred – Undercover Kitty
Fred was originally rescued by Animal Care & Control of New York City and then adopted by assistant district attorney Carol Moran. He was enlisted by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office as an undercover secret agent, posing as a patient in order to catch out Stephen Vassall, who was suspected of acting as a veterinarian without the proper license or training. Vassall was successfully charged with unauthorized veterinary practice, criminal mischief, injuring animals and petty larceny. For aiding in catching Vassall, and saving countless possible patients, Fred was later recognised for his achievement with a Law Enforcement Appreciation Award and the Mayor’s Alliance Award (which is given to remarkable animals).
Bamse – Royal Norwegian Navy Crew Member
Bamse became a symbol of Norwegian freedom during World War II for his incredible acts of bravery. At the start of World War II he was enrolled as an official crew member to the Thorodd coastal patrol vessel. The ship was part of the naval opposition to the Germans, though later escaped to the UK where it remained for the rest of the war. Bamse consistently lifted the morale of the ship’s crew and in battle he would stand defiant on the front gun tower of the boat.
Some of his acts of heroism include saving a young lieutenant commander who was being attacked by a man wielding a knife by pushing him into the sea, and dragging a sailor back to shore who had fallen overboard. Also, one of Bamse’s tasks in the UK was to round up his crew and escort them back to the ship at the call of duty. He managed this by traveling alone via the local buses to the crew’s favourite bars, wondering in and fetching them.
After suffering from heart failure later in life, he was buried with full military honors, his funeral was attended by hundreds of people.
Laika – Soviet Space Dog
Laika, arguably the most famous space dog, became the first animal to orbit the Earth and was one of the first animals in space. She was originally found as a stray on the streets of Moscow by the Soviet space program, who were seeking these kinds of dogs as they thought that strays had learned to adapt to tough living conditions such as the cold and hunger. Laika was chosen as the dog to be launched into space in the Sputnik 2, though as little was known about space flight at the time, it was designed to be a one way journey that she wouldn’t survive.
The launch was successful, but stressful on Laika, with her heart rate more than doubling. Around 5 – 7 hours into the flight, no further signs of life were received, with the cause of death never truly being discovered. Due to her sacrifice in the name of science she was memorialized in a statue at Star City in Russia, a Cosmonaut training facility.
Rip – Search & Rescue Dog
Rip was responsible for saving over 100 people during the London air raids in World War II. Rip was originally found as a stray after heavy bombing and was thrown scraps by a raid warden who struck up a friendship with the dog. He was first adopted as the mascot of the Southill Street Air Raid Patrol and then began work as an unofficial rescue dog. He became the service’s first official search and rescue dog. Rip was never actually trained to do search and rescue work, but picked it up quickly. His success encouraged the authorities to train search and rescue dogs towards the end of World War II.