German shepherds have always been favored for police work, and they learn very well. But for one untrained shepherd that’s not enlisted in the police force, he still managed to guide a trooper to his owner, who needed help one evening.
In 2010, Ben Heinrichs was working on a vehicle in a shop that was outside his family’s home in Caswell Lakes in Alaska when a spark from a heater caused a fire.
“I was out working in the shop. I was using gas to clean parts on a truck, and I had an electric heater in there. It ignited the gas fumes,” Heinrichs said, according to Alaska Public Media.
“I ran out, because I was on fire. I had to roll in the snow, and I went back in and got my dog out,” Heinrichs said.
“I just told him, ‘We need to get help,’ and then that’s the last time I seen him,” Heinrichs recalled that night to Anchorage Daily News.
His dog, Buddy, went off to get help and met Alaska State Trooper Terrence Shanigan, on Caswell Loop Road.
It happened that Shanigan was responding to a call about the fire, which was Heinrichs’s home, but the GPS device froze, which caused difficulties finding the house.
“Buddy eventually greeted me at the intersection of a road, and I saw him walk toward me with a casual type of a gait, look at me, then start running,” Shanigan recalled. “I just decided to follow at that point.”
Shanigan’s dashboard camera captured Buddy leading Shanigan to his home and occasionally looking back at Shanigan’s patrol car to make sure Shanigan was following him.
Due to Buddy’s actions, Heinrichs’s house was saved, though the shop was destroyed.
“I didn’t train him or nothing. He just took off and went and did what he did … He was just being a good dog,” Heinrichs said.
“Buddy’s not trained. This is something he did pretty much on his own,” he added.
Buddy was later honored for his heroic actions. He received a metal dog bowl engraved with the troopers’ logo, and also his name on it.
Sadly, six years after he became a celebrity overnight, he died from liver cancer. However, his owner will always remember him.