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Positively Speaking: Animal heroes

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By Toby Moore

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of man named Toby Moore
Toby Moore

Early one bright morning, Ludavine, a spirited bloodhound, was let out into the expansive yard for her daily exploration. The property, a vast expanse of green, was Ludavine’s kingdom, offering endless mysteries for her keen nose.

As Ludavine trotted along the perimeter, her nose twitched with curiosity at an unusual gathering. She found herself at the edge of a crowd buzzing with excitement. It was the start of a 13-mile half marathon with dozens of eager runners and busy organizers.

As the runners lined up and the starting gun echoed through the air, Ludavine’s instincts kicked in. To her, this seemed to be the most epic hunt of her life. With a burst of energy, she dashed to the front, leading the pack. She zigzagged across the course, her ears flapping joyously, occasionally veering into the forest only to re-emerge seconds later, still in the lead.

Ludavine, in her element, raced through the finish line, clinching an impressive 7th place. Her unexpected participation earned her a medal, a symbol of her delightful intrusion. A friend of her owners, recognizing the adventurous bloodhound, snapped a photo of Ludavine adorned with her medal and sent it to her astonished owners, who had no idea about her escapade.

In the tumultuous waves of World War II, amidst the clash of naval giants, a remarkable black-and-white tuxedo cat, later known as Unsinkable Sam, emerged.

Initially enlisted by the German Navy, Sam’s duty was to rid the Bismarck of pesky rats. Despite the rocky conditions and the threat of enemy ships, Sam diligently patrolled the corridors, a vigilant sentinel against the rodent menace.

The British Navy’s relentless pursuit sealed Bismarck’s fate. After its destruction, the sole feline survivor of the catastrophe was spotted clinging to a piece of wreckage.

Rescued by the British, who were grappling with their rat infestation, Sam seamlessly transitioned to his new role aboard the HMS Cossack.

Sam had barely settled into his new surroundings when tragedy struck again. A torpedo’s deadly strike sent the Cossack to the ocean’s depths. Astonishingly, Sam emerged unscathed, once again found clinging to debris, surviving against all odds.

Recognizing his indomitable spirit, the Royal Navy assigned Sam to the HMS Ark Royal, ironically the aircraft carrier responsible for sinking his first home, the Bismarck.

Merely eight days into his service, the Ark Royal met its demise at the hands of a German U-boat. Yet again, Sam was found floating on debris, unharmed but visibly perturbed by his continuous misfortune.

At this point, the Royal Navy deemed it prudent to end Sam’s seafaring days. Sam was sent to live out his days in a home for retired sailors, where his legendary survival skills became the stuff of naval lore.

In the annals of war heroes, few tales are as remarkable as that of Judy, a purebred English pointer whose spirit remained unbroken even in the darkest times. Judy’s journey began aboard the British Royal Navy ship, HMS Gnat, where she served as a mascot and a source of comfort to the sailors. Her keen senses made her invaluable, alerting the crew to enemy aircraft 20 to 60 minutes before the alarms sounded.

Judy’s life changed dramatically when she was transferred to the HMS Grasshopper. During a fierce battle in the South China Sea, the Grasshopper was sunk by Japanese bombers. Miraculously, Judy survived the sinking and found herself stranded with the surviving crew on a deserted island. Her survival instinct came to the forefront as she helped the sailors find fresh water, saving many lives.

But their relief was short-lived. Captured by Japanese forces, Judy and her human comrades became prisoners of war. The conditions in the camp were brutal, but Judy’s indomitable spirit never waned. Her presence provided not just emotional comfort but also a degree of physical protection; she would fearlessly bark at guards to stop them from beating the prisoners.

Judy spent her post-war years in peaceful retirement, surrounded by those who loved and admired her for her bravery and steadfast companionship.

Give your pets love! Ludavine’s race, Sam’s resilience, and Judy’s bravery remind us of the extraordinary spirits dwelling within our animal companions, echoing tales of courage and adventure.

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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