Everyone knows that animals are capable of receiving love and affection, and that there are countless stories of them being rescued from shelters or dire situations by compassionate humans. But in these cases, we’re highlighting the fact that they’re also capable of returning the favor by showing bravery and rescuing humans in extraordinary ways.
They’re modest. They act without craving recognition or awards and they just return to their normal everyday activities as soon as the feat is accomplished — eating, rolling around in the dirt, and just generally enjoying life.
Winnie the Wonder Cat
“Winnie the Wonder Cat” sprang into action when the house filled with carbon monoxide. The mother says Winnie started meowing and scratching her to get her to wake up. When she did, she was barely able to call 911 and delusional when the police arrived.
Winnie’s owner said “If it wasn’t for Winnie, screaming and hollering and carrying on, we wouldn’t be here today.”
The family thinks the carbon monoxide came from a broken gas powered sump pump in their basement, and officials said if the cat had waited another 5 minutes, the outcome would have been horrible and most likely a coroner case instead.
Khan the Doberman
Khan, a rescued Doberman Pinscher, was at his new home for just four days before he repaid his owners’ kindness by saving their 17-month-old daughter Charlotte from a deadly snake attack.
Charlotte was playing in the garden of her family’s home when Khan, began to snarl. A king brown snake — one of the world’s most venomous — was under the house. Khan tried to nudge the toddler away, but when she didn’t move, he picked her up by her diaper and gently tossed her a few feet behind him.
The movement startled the snake, which lunged and bit Khan on the paw, but after receiving medical help, the heroic Doberman made a full recovery.
Mila the Beluga Whale
A 26-year-old diver was taking part in a free diving contest without breathing equipment among the whales in a tank of water more than 20 feet deep and chilled to Arctic temperatures. When she tried to return to the surface, she found her legs crippled by cramp from the freezing cold.
At that point Mila the beluga started pushing the diver to the top of the pool with her leg in Mila’s mouth. Thankfully belugas, which live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic and feed on small fish and squid, have only small teeth and the diver was uninjured.
Officials said she’s a sensitive animal who works closely with humans and that the diver owes Mila her life. The diver, reliving the moment, agreed that she thought it was over for her until she felt a force pushing her up from the bottom.
Kilo the Pit Bull
Justin Becker and his girlfriend were returning home from running errands when they heard a knock at the door. A man dressed as a FedEx delivery man told Becker his scanner wasn’t working and asked if he could go inside and grab a pen to sign for the package. Just minutes later this would turn into a home invasion robbery attempt, shots would be fired, Kilo — Becker’s 12-year-old pit bull — would go after the thug and take a bullet to the head to save his owner.
The bullet ricocheted off the skull and went straight down and exited at the neck. Miraculously, after veterinary care, Kilo was up and going for walks just three days after being shot.
Lulu the Potbelly Pig
When JoAnn Altsman had a heart attack and collapsed to the ground, Lulu, her daughter’s pot-bellied pig, rushed out of the house, lying down in the street to stop traffic. The pig tried relentlessly to get help, returning to the house to check on JoAnn, only to rush back to the street for help.
Finally, one person stopped and followed the determined pig back to the house, where they found Altsman in pain on the floor. She was immediately rushed to a hospital.
Buddy the German Shepherd
Joe Stalnaker adopted his German shepherd, Buddy, when the pooch was just an 8-week-old puppy, and he taught him to retrieve the phone when he started experiencing seizure symptoms. If Stalnaker blacks out or is unable to make the call, Buddy is trained to use his teeth to hit a speed-dial button that calls 911.
In 2008, the 18-month-old dog called the emergency line, and began whimpering into the phone. Emergency responders arrived on the scene a few minutes later and found Stalnaker unconscious, but after a couple days in the hospital, he recovered – all thanks to Buddy.
Willie the Parrot
A 2-year-old named Hannah Kuusk would have choked to death if it weren’t for Willie, a Quaker parrot.
Megan Howard, the child’s babysitter and the bird’s owner, prepared a Pop-Tart for Hannah, placed it on the table to cool and then ran to use the bathroom.
While she was in the bathroom, Willie started screaming, flapping his wings, and saying things like, “Mama! Baby! Mama! Baby!” Howard ran out of the bathroom to find Hannah in the kitchen, holding the partly eaten Pop-Tart, gasping for air, her face and lips a terrifying shade of blue, and Willie still shrieking his refrain.
Howard performed the Heimlich maneuver to save the little girl, but she says Willie is the real hero. The bird was later presented with the local Red Cross chapter’s Animal Lifesaver Award.
Tang the Newfoundland
In 1919, a ship called Ethie crashed into rocks, stranding 93 sailors amidst stormy seas. After one of the sailors was swept out to sea, the crew turned to the ship’s dog, a Newfoundland by the name of Tang. With a rope in his mouth, the dog leaped into the water.
When he reached land, onlookers were amazed to discover that his jaw was still fastened to the rope. All 92 of the remaining sailors were pulled to safety due to Tang’s ceaseless bravery.
Lloyd’s of London, the famous insurance agency, awarded Tang a medal for bravery for his miraculous deed.
Mandy the Goat
Austrian farmer Noel Osborne fell into a pile of manure and hurt his hip badly. Being too distant from anybody who could hear his cries for help, he spent five days in the open air.
During this time his goat Mandy huddled by his side, keeping him warm. Perhaps more remarkably, Mandy would also feed the man with her milk that helped him to survive cold and rainy nights.
Eventually, the man was saved by his friends.
Toby the Golden Retriever
Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman’s chest. The dog’s owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life.
Debbie Parkhurst, 45, said she was eating an apple at her home when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but it didn’t work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved.
The next thing she knew, Toby was up on his hind feet with his front paws on her shoulders. He pushed her to the ground, and once she was on her back, he began jumping up and down on her chest. That’s when the apple dislodged and Toby started licking her face to keep her from passing out.
Kerry the Horse
Fiona Boyd, a 40-year-old mother of two, was alone at home on her family farm at Chapmanton, near Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire, when she heard the cries of a young calf in distress. When she went outside, she saw the calf had become separated from its mother and could not find her among the other cows in the herd.
She decided to move the calf and its mother into a shed together, but as she approached the calf, its mother finally heard its distressed cries and charged at Boyd, knocking her to the ground and stampeding over her.
As she scrambled for cover, she saw her 15-year-old chestnut mare Kerry, who was grazing nearby, kicking wildly at the cow. As the horse hit at the cow, Boyd managed to crawl 20 feet to safety under an electric fence.
Honey the English Cocker Spaniel
When Honey and owner Michael Bosch found their SUV rolled over and stuck upside down in a deep ravine, Bosch was trapped and knew that Honey was his only hope.
With all his strength, he managed to release the dog and hope that she would somehow find help. Sure enough, the then 5-month-old English Cocker Spaniel got the attention of a man about a half-mile away and brought him to the scene of the accident.
Rescuers concluded that had it not been for this, Bosch would have died.
Ningnong the Elephant
Eight-year-old Amber Mason from Milton Keynes in England was on vacation in Phuket, Thailand with her mother and stepfather. The brightest spot of her holiday to that point had been making friends with a four-year-old Asian elephant named Ningnong. Little did they know that when the 2004 tsunami hit, that elephant would save Amber’s life.
She climbed on Ningnong’s back and the two followed the elephant’s owner, Yong, down to the beach. Yong was busily collecting stranded fish from the beach for food while Amber and Ningnong were hanging out together.
At one point the elephant sensed that something was wrong and took off running inland. When the wave arrived he stood still and braced himself against the wave, saving Amber’s life.
Chi Chi the Chihuahua
Mary Lane and her husband were relaxing on beach chairs at Indian Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks while Chi Chi, their 13-pound Chihuahua rested on his own chair — restrained, since he tends to chase after other beachgoers.
All of a sudden he leapt out of his beach chair, still attached, dragging the beach chair, and started sending out an alarm, making a sound they never heard before.
It turns out there was danger some 100 yards down the beach, where Mary Lane spotted a storm surge and two elderly ladies, one of which who had fallen on her back headfirst into the surf. The other lady was trying to hold her head up, and she was in danger of being washed out.
The Lanes rushed to pull the ladies out of the riptide and, after determining the pair were shaken but otherwise fine, returned to their spot on the beach — to find Chi Chi happily sleeping in his chair.
Pudding the Cat
Amy Jung’s rescue cat saved her life the same day he was adopted. Jung and her son Ethan stopped by their local Humane Society to play with the adoptable cats. It was there that they met Pudding, a 21-pound orange and white tabby who had been there for some time. Moved by his plight, the Jungs adopted Pudding, as well as Wimsy, one of Pudding’s fellow felines.
Later that night, Jung, a lifelong diabetic, slipped into a diabetic seizure in her sleep. That’s when Pudding came to her rescue, nudging and biting at her until she awoke long enough to call out to her son.
Unfortunately, Ethan was asleep and didn’t hear her plea for help. So Pudding sprang into action again, pouncing on Ethan’s bed until he woke up and was able to get medical assistance.
Both Jung and her doctors agree that Pudding’s actions saved her life and he is now a registered therapy cat who has been trained to sit at Jung’s feet and meow if her blood sugar drops.