Our dogs and cats are great companions and diligent snugglers, but that’s not their only job. Many pets are more than just pets—they also help to make our work lives easier.
Most purebred dogs look and act the way they do for a reason. For example, greyhounds were bred for hunting fast game, while the stubby legs of a dachshund allow her to scurry into tunnels after badgers and rabbits. Mastiffs are big and strong to guard property, and sheep dogs herd anything and everything—and the list goes on.
But what are some of the more … unconventional jobs our pets have? Here are some favorites.
The small town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, is home to around 315 people and now several canine mayors, including a French bulldog, a black Lab and a pit bull. Wilbur, pictured [above] is a French bulldog who was elected to that town’s mayorship in 2020. Meanwhile, situated in the mountains in California, the village of Idyllwild has only elected golden retrievers to the mayorship.
Cats have helped control rodent populations in the home since they first joined human families around 8,000 years ago. Much of this important work is done behind the scenes, but some high-profile cats have made mouse hunting their claim to fame.
Take for example Larry the Cat, the chief mouser of 10 Downing Street and top feline of the British Prime Minister’s office since 2011. Unlike other “first pets,” Larry is considered a member of the civil service and stays at the PM’s residence regardless of the human in office.
Canines have an incredible sense of smell—reportedly anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times stronger than our own. It’s no surprise that our dogs are regularly trained to use their sniffers for our protection.
Specially trained dogs are used to smell for chemical antecedents used in explosives, as well as drugs and other contraband, in public places. It’s estimated there are more than 10,000 dogs working to sniff out suspicious items in the world today. Thanks for your service, paw-fficers!
A different kind of rat race
Dogs aren’t the only ones sniffing around to protect our safety. Landmines pose a serious danger to civilians long after a war is over. It’s estimated that more than 100 million landmines are in the ground right now—and finding and destroying them is dangerous work.
That’s why specially trained rats are now being used to detect landmines in former warzones. Thanks to their light weight and powerful noses, these rambunctious rodents can pinpoint mines hidden under soil or foliage without triggering an explosion. Despite their small size, some rats can clear more than 2,000 square feet of turf in just 20 minutes (it would take a human four days to do the same task).
I’m a paw-del, you know what I mean
Being beautiful just comes easy for some pets—so, naturally, modeling is a fur-fect fit. Take for example Tika the Iggy, a TikTok sensation and Italian Greyhound with a refined fashion sensibility (and more than 22 million followers on the platform). Ooo la la! Bisou!
Is there a fun, fur-fessional pet job that you want us to know about? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook @NationwidePet!
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