Stephanie Henkel, Global Animal
Twenty years ago, a series of twelve bombs detonated throughout the city of Mumbai leaving 257 dead and 713 injured.
According to Reuters, thousands of lives were saved thanks to a brave golden labrador named Zanjeer. The heroic canine detected more than 3,329 kgs of explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades, and 6,406 rounds of live ammunition. Zanjeer, a treasured member of the Mumbai Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, also helped avert other potential explosions by detecting three more bombs in the days following the initial blasts.
Mumbai’s police dog squad has been in effect since December 1959, as reported by the Times of India. It began with only three Doberman pinschers who were used to track criminals. Since then, the police dog division has come a long way. The squad now comprises of around two dozen Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, and labradors who assist in all types of police investigations.
The Pune Mirror reported that in November 2000, Zanjeer died of bone cancer at eight years old. During a ceremony for the departed labrador, one of Zanjeer’s fellow officers laid a floral wreath on the canine before his burial. This image resonated with people all over the world, and on the 20th anniversary of the bomb explosions, the picture has gone viral on Facebook.
A labor union leader named Dilip Mohite told Mid-Day, a compact Indian newspaper, that Zanjeer’s extraordinary detection skills deserve recognition. “Policemen who die a martyr’s death get accolades, but canine members go unnoticed,” stated Mohite.
Zanjeer was buried with full honors, and twenty years later, his story still captures hearts around the world. This brave dog is missed but will never be forgotten.