It will come as a surprise to no-one that any room’s brightest spark – the humble dog – can secure some pretty sweet gigs in this shaky economy. As far as hireable traits go, they’re pretty much the dream employee: their enthusiasm for life and teamwork knows no bounds, they can inflate with infectious energy at a minute’s notice if a lead is in hand, and they’re endlessly eager to take on some of the lowliest tasks (vacuuming floors with their tongue, for one). Plus, their lack of fingers make distracted digressions into internet wormholes a non-issue. Their love of sleeping and obsession with food aside, you can count on a dog for any task worth doing, and here are some of the coolest jobs these fluffy friends excel at.
That’s a dog that’s an artist, to you. We’re not suggesting every dog has the kind of artistic talent that, say, Uggie from Oscar-winning film The Artist displays, but this California-based companion is a serious savant. Dagger AKA DogVinci (be still our beating hearts) puts paw to canvas every day and even donates some of the proceeds – of which there must be many, thanks to the 300 paintings he’s sold worldwide – to local dog charities.
The average human isn’t comfortable diving out of a plane thousands of feet in the air, but as your own dog leaping into the couch-side abyss to fetch a beloved ball will attest, dogs don’t generally feel much fear. Which is lucky, because we’re not certain just how much say these soldier dogs have in their day-to-day routine. As part of their role as elite members of the Colombian Air Force, these four-legged angels are trained to reach remote parts of the country by plunging out of planes while strapped to a fellow soldier.
They can certainly sniff out a stray crumb a mile away, but did you know that dogs are also unbelievably skilled at sniffing out cancer? They’re so good, in fact, that like these lovely labs, they can make a career out of it. This particular godsend, Daisy, has detected over 550 cases of cancer in her patients, including in her owner, and has also received a Blue Cross Medal for her services to the cancer-detection plight. She’s now a senior consultant to a team of 12 dogs training to extend her work.
Border Collie Widdle Kermit Ambrosius von Przygodski – Kermit to his friends – is blazing trails and tails with his owner Melissa Unfred in the US. The pair are the first certified owner-therapy-dog team in the funeral services industry in Texas, and are helping grieving families deal with loss in an unconventional way. Owner Melissa is already in the funeral industry and, after taking Kermit to work, noticed how much of an impact he was having on her clients. “He just moves himself into the position where he’s closest to the primary griever,” she told a local news station.
It was his efforts with an inconsolable widow that cemented his career calling for Melissa: as her client began to stroke Kermit, “the tears subsided for the moment and [the widow] was able to complete the arrangement for her husband’s services.”
Although he now patrols in the sky, the late Bilbo was a fixture on the Cornish beach of Sennen Cove before he passed away (and before he was fired, incidentally). The gruff and dedicated 89kg Newfoundland, who proudly wore a lifesaving vest while “on duty”, was trained by his owner and fellow lifeguard Steven Jamieson to paddle out to struggling swimmers with a rescue float, and did so until he failed a fitness test in 2008 and was taken off duty. During his time on patrol, though, the courageous Bilbo saved three lives.