Best dogs of 2023: Good (and bad) boys and girls that made headlines this year

The dogs were so good in 2023.

Okay, some of them were bad. But it wasn’t their fault.

Here’s a round-up of the ones who made headlines.


Britain's longest-serving Fire Investigation Dog, Labrador Reqs, receives his PDSA Order of Merit medal at Hertfordshire's Joint Emergency Services Academy, for his unwavering devotion to duty and service to society during his 11-year career.
Image: Reqs

Sometimes, someone comes along who makes you feel like you’ve achieved nothing in life – and sometimes that person is a dog.

The country’s longest-serving fire investigation dog was awarded a lifetime service medal this year after a career spanning 11 years.

Labrador Reqs, 12, was the 42nd recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit, which recognises animals that have shown “outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society”.

Reqs began his career in 2012, attending more than 500 fires and helping with high-profile investigations before his recent retirement.

Thank you for your service, Reqs.


This image provided by Dana Holby shows her Jack Russell terrier Finney on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Pagosa Springs Pic:Dana Holb/AP
Image: Finney. Pic: Dana Holb/AP

On 19 August, Rich Moore, 71, and his tiny Jack Russell Finney went on a hike in the Colorado mountains.

When they failed to return, a search for the pair began.

Sadly, more than two months later on 30 October, Mr Moore’s body was discovered by a local hunter.

But next to him was his loyal companion Finney, who had stayed by his side and was emaciated, but alive.

“If that dog could talk it would be an amazing story,” said Delinda VanneBrightyn, from the search and rescue team.

“We probably could not even believe the story the dog would tell.”

A recovery crew was flown in the day after Mr Moore’s body was found. Finney was taken to a vet for a check-up and treatment and was then reunited with her family

They believe Finney survived by drinking from streams and hunting small animals.


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She saw a cat

Pepper saw a cat. Which is usually fine, except it happened while her owner, Lord Vaizey, was doing a live TV interview on Sky News.

Pepper failed at containing a single one of her emotions.


Liam Gallagher applied to adopt Buttons. Pic: niall.harbison/Instagram
Image: Buttons. Pic: niall.harbison/Instagram

Buttons was dumped in a jungle in Thailand as a puppy because she “wasn’t cute enough”.

She was taken to a sanctuary run by dog rescuer Niall Harbison, who said she was initially scared and confused, and took some time to adjust.

But she gradually allowed Mr Harbison to come close enough to loosen her collar and take her in as one of their own.

Then one day, as Mr Harbison was going through applications for requests to rehome some of their animals, he saw a request for Buttons from one Liam Gallagher.

“I thought that’s obviously not him,” he said.

“Then the next line was occupation, and it was ‘singer’. I thought my mates were taking the p***. But I checked it out a bit more and his details all stacked up.”

It turns out the Oasis star had seen Buttons on social media and put in an application to adopt her.

As Mr Harbison said at the time, “she’s in safe hands”.


FILE PHOTO: The dog, Bobi, that broke the record for oldest dog ever at 30 years-old, is pictured at Conqueiros, in Leiria, Portugal, February 4, 2023. REUTERS/Catarina Demony/File Photo
Image: Bobi. Pic: REUTERS/Catarina Demony/File Photo

Sweet Bobi crossed the rainbow bridge in October, at the ripe old age of 31.

Confirming the dog’s death, Dr Karen Becker, a veterinarian, said: “Last night, this sweet boy earned his wings.

“Despite outliving every dog in history, his 11,478 days on Earth would never be enough for those who loved him.

“Godspeed, Bobi … you’ve taught the world all you were meant to teach.”

Born on 11 May 1992, Bobi was recognised by Guinness World Records as the oldest dog ever in February.

There have since been claims about whether Bobi was indeed 30, but we don’t care. He was still a good boy.


Gromit. Pic: Scottish SPCA
Image: Gromit. Pic: Scottish SPCA

Don’t cry, but Gromit is deaf and there’s been “very little interest” in adopting him.

Gromit, who is currently staying at the SPCA’s Angus, Fife and Tayside Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, is said to be “very food orientated” and “loves to learn”.

He is even learning sign language.

Rachael MacLean, regional operations lead, said: “Due to his background, he also hasn’t seen much of the outside world, so he needs somebody to help build his confidence and keep him on the right track.

“He is a fantastic dog and would make someone a very lucky owner.”

This story doesn’t have a happy ending yet, but we really hope it will.


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Child hostages reunite with their dog

Yuval, Ofri and Oria Brodtz were kidnapped during Hamas’s attack on Israel.

They were held captive for nearly two months.

Their dog, Rodney, couldn’t contain his excitement at being reunited with his small humans. And they seemed pretty happy too.


The crew of the Mexican tuna boat 'Maria Delia' pose for photos with Bella. Pic: AP
Image: The crew of the Mexican tuna boat ‘Maria Delia’ pose for photos with Bella. Pic: AP

Timothy Shaddock, 54, got lost at sea.

The Australian sailor’s catamaran set sail in April from the Mexican city of La Paz for French Polynesia – but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the journey.

He was rescued after being stranded for three months with a dog, Bella.

Mr Shaddock met Bella, a black and brown stray dog, while he was living in San Miguel de Allende, his home when he arrived in Mexico at the start of the pandemic.

Bella became his constant companion for the next three years, despite occasional efforts to find her a suitable home on land.

When they became stranded, the two survived on raw fish and rainwater.

Andres Zamorano, the helicopter pilot who was the first to spot the pair, said he believed the moral obligation Mr Shaddock felt to keep Bella alive helped them both survive.

“That dog is something else,” Mr Shaddock said after touching dry land for the first time.

Good dogs who were bad (but are still so good)


Moldova's President Maia Sandu and her dog greet Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen and Slovenia's President Natasa Pirc Musar in Chisinau,
Image: Moldova’s President Maia Sandu and her dog greet Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen and Slovenia’s President Natasa Pirc Musar in Chisinau

In November, Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s dog Codrut bit the president of Austria.

Ms Sandu apologised in English and explained the dog had become frightened by large numbers of people nearby. We can relate.

Alexander Van der Bellen, the Austrian president, appeared with his hand bandaged at his next meeting.

His office said: “It was a small wound that was treated with a bandage,” adding that Mr Van der Bellen “is doing well”.

The Austrian president later posted about the incident on his Instagram page, acknowledging it “caused a bit of a stir”.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a big dog lover and can understand his excitement,” Mr Van der Bellen said.


Keswick MRT
Image: Rocky. Pic: Keswick MRT

Rocky was all of us in May when, during a hike on England’s highest mountain, he just stopped walking and refused to get up.

The “injured and exhausted” pooch, who was reportedly of the Akita breed, remained “cool, calm and positively regal” throughout the rescue by the Keswick Mountain Rescue team.

The rescue team was allocated the job after the dog’s owners initially rang the police, requesting assistance after their pet refused to walk on their return journey from Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain in the Lake District.


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Bean doing her most urgent running

Bean reportedly got spooked by a dog and ran for his little life.

He made off at full speed on the Staten Island Expressway in New York, with cars all trying to slow down and get the dog to stop running.

A motorist then chased the dog on foot.

He was finally caught and reunited with his owners. But his speeds were very impressive.

Watch the video, you won’t regret it.

Source : Sky News