Animals on the Job

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

People and animals have worked together for thousands of years. Some dogs guard against enemies, while others herd cattle. Cats hunt mice and other rodents, preventing them from stealing food and spreading disease. Some animals are trained to help people in other ways.

  • You probably know that seeing-eye dogs help blind people. But did you know that hearing dogs help deaf people, alerting their owners to doorbells, alarms, sirens and people calling them?
  • Specially trained capuchin monkeys can help quadriplegics—people who can't use their arms or legs. The monkeys can change CDs, scratch itches, fetch food and even comb hair.
  • Female pigs use their ample snouts to find truffles—a tasty fungus that grows underground.
  • Homing pigeons, who return to their nests from wherever they're released, have been used to carry messages for thousands of years.
  • Dogs in K-9 units (the name comes from “canine,” which means “dog”) help police officers by chasing and holding criminals. Some are trained to sniff out drugs or explosives or to find missing people.
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