5 Heroic Animal Rescue Stories You Have to Read to Believe
We’ve all heard stories of dogs and cats alerting their owners in time to save them from house fires, and many people with disabilities depend on their service animals to save their lives on a regular basis. Occasionally, though, a story surfaces on the internet that shows exceptional bravery and intelligence on the part of an animal savior, or a rescue is performed by an unexpected species. Here are five such stories, all verified for accuracy (because we all know how the internet is…) for your enjoyment!
1. Renowned Canadian K9 officer Trakr and his partner, James Symington, is most famous for finding one of the last survivors at Ground Zero–a 32 year old woman buried over 30 feet under the rubble. Aside from his heroics at Ground Zero, Trakr has been credited with hundreds of arrests and recovering over a million dollars worth of stolen goods in his career. The German Shepard also was the first canine to have his head shaved for Cops for Cancer, a national campaign for kids with cancer. Trakr recently passed away peacefully at Symington’s home at age 16, but has been cloned and the world anxiously awaits the accomplishments of his puppy, Prodigy.
2. When Gwen Cooper adopted a black kitten that had been abandoned at her vet’s office after an infection left him with no eyes, she had no idea that he would someday return the favor and save her life. Homer awoke her in the middle of the night with fierce growling—a noise she had never heard from him. She snapped on the light to find an intruder standing at the foot of her bed, and Homer ready to attack. The intruder, caught off guard by the sight of the cat’s eyeless face, hesitated for a moment, giving Gwen a chance to lunge for the phone and dial 911. When he tried to stop her, Homer sprang to action, and chased the man out of her apartment. Read the full story here — but be prepared and have tissues handy! Gwen’s reaction to Homer’s bravery gets me every time.
3. The 2004 Tsunami in Thailand caused countless tragedies, but one was avoided with the help of an elephant named Ningnong, part of a troupe of elephants used for giving rides on the beach. When the water began to rise, Ningnong sensed danger and carried 8-year-old Amber Mason to safety. Amber’s mother had feared her lost, but says that the friendly elephant kept taking her daughter to higher ground and using her body to shield the child from the waves until she was completely out of danger and reunited with her family.
4. Speaking of water-related rescues, there are many, many cases of dolphins saving humans from drowning and shark attacks. Dolphins are known to have an innate protective instinct which fortunately extends to other species. One remarkable story is that of Todd Endris, who was surfing and watching a pod of dolphins cavort in Marina State Park in California one August afternoon when a great white shark grabbed him. The shark bit him three times, twice grabbing both Endris’ torso and his surfboard and saving him from massive internal injuries. During his struggle, the nearby pod of dolphins surrounded him and blocked the shark from biting him again while he swam to shore, allowing him to escape without fatal injuries.
Todd’s scars from the shark attack.
5. Copperhead snakes, while intimidating, are venomous but not necessarily fatal to humans. Janice Wolf, a cattle rancher from Arkansas who operates Rocky Ridge Refuge, had to be especially careful to avoid any snake run-ins (slither-ins?) though, as she had been very sensitive to insect bites in the past and was recovering from lung surgery. One afternoon while out checking fence, one of her Watusi calves abruptly blocked her way and refused to let her pass. Thinking he was playing, or just being stubborn, she grabbed his horns to push him out of the way. He reacted by swinging his head to the side, sweeping her off her feet—and drawing her attention to the copperhead that was lying exactly where her next footstep would have fallen had the calf not intervened.
Do you have an animal rescue story? Tell us in the comments!