Service dogs devote their lives to helping humans, just another reason they are considered man's best friend.
Many service dogs have been known to do remarkable things, but there's one that grabbed global attention, and for good reason.
Endal was a male Labrador retriever in Britain, born in 1995. He almost never made it as a service dog because he was born with a lifelong debilitating joint condition called osteochondrosis in both of his front legs.
His intelligence and problem-solving abilities, however, more than made up for that, and he became a fully operational and accredited assistance dog despite the fact that he was only part trained.
Allen Parton, Endal's owner, suffered serious head injuries from the Gulf War, including 50% memory loss and inability to reliably make new memories for more than around 2 days, required a wheelchair to move, had speech and word difficulties, an inability to perceive invisible materials, and an inability to safely judge speed and distance of traffic.
What got media attention was Endal's rescue of Parton when the man was knocked out of his wheelchair by a passing car. Endal pulled Allen, who was unconscious, into the recovery position, retrieved his mobile phone from beneath the car, fetched a blanket and covered him, barked at nearby dwellings for assistance, and then ran to a nearby hotel to obtain help.
That's heroic, but Endal was dedicated before then, too. He was able to respond to over one hundred instructions and hundreds of hand signals. He could retrieve items from supermarket shelves, operate buttons and switches, and load and empty a washing machine. He was able to put a card into a cash machine, retrieve the card when the process was complete, and return the card to a wallet, the first dog to be able to do so.
This quote from Allen Parton gives a good account:
"When I couldn't talk, he learned sign language – if I touched my head I wanted my hat, if I touched my face it was for the razor. He learned hundreds of commands in signing. Eventually one day, in this very silent world we lived in, I grunted. That was like an electric shock going through him, he was so excited. They said I'd never speak again, but Endal just dragged the speech out of me." - Able Magazine
Parton states that Endal's ability to comprehend his wishes and needs showed when they first met, and was responsible for helping him recover from the initial deep depression and trauma caused by his disability.