For indisputable evidence of just how heroic dogs can be, take a look at the team of Golden Retrievers who recently arrived in Newtown to help comfort the victims of Friday's shooting.
All through 2012, we've seen countless such examples of heroic pets -- take, for instance, Kabang, the Filipino dog who lost her snout while saving two girls from a motorcycle accident, or the Japanese Akita who jumped into freezing waters to save his suicidal owner, or even the cat who took bullets for her litter.
As the year draws to a close, we're honoring 2012's most heroic canines in the video above -- dogs who've put themselves in the path of danger to protect humans and other animals alike. It's an instinct that the human race would do well to learn from.
If you are interested in a adopting a dog, Petfinder is a good place to start your search.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Kabang is Indonesian.