Extraordinary Animals

Remarkable Tales of Life-Saving Pets

Most of us have heard stories about how remarkable animals have saved people’s lives, but this trend seems to be occurring more and more. Here are some wonderful, heartwarming stories that I collected recently from various sources.

Earlier this month, a toddler was lost overnight in the Arizona desert in 30-degree weather without a jacket. Three-year-old Victoria was comforted (and kept warm) all night by the family’s dog, a Queensland heeler named Blue. Searchers in a Department of Public Safety helicopter discovered Victoria 15 hours after she had wandered off. The child had frostbite on her feet, but otherwise seemed okay. Paramedics thought she wouldn’t have survived had Blue not been there with her to keep her warm.

Last month, a Santa Barbara couple was alerted in the middle of the night by their Boston terrier when the outside of their house caught fire. Luckily, the couple was able to put out the flames before the fire caused too much damage.

In February of this year, an 11-year-old child stepped outside his home in British Columbia when a cougar approached and looked ready to attack. The family’s golden retriever, fittingly named Angel, ran toward the cougar and attacked before it could get to the child. Luckily, there was a police officer half a block away who came to Angel’s rescue.

A few months ago, a 15-year-old German shorthaired pointer saved the life of an elderly man in Pine City, Minnesota. The pointer, named Effie, was out for his usual walk with his owner when Effie decided he wanted to go a different direction and frantically pulled at the leash until the owner conceded. Effie then took off running, leading his owner to a nearby house where a 94-year-old man was facedown in the driveway. The dog started licking the man’s face while his owner called 911 and performed CPR. Medical experts believe that man would not be alive today if it wasn’t for Effie.

It’s not just dogs who come to the rescue. A couple in northwestern Chicago were awakened by their 13-year-old house cat, Baby, when their house caught on fire. The couple, their dog, and Baby got out safely, but the home was destroyed. The family was especially thankful that Baby alerted them as the wife is expecting twins soon.

A giant pet rabbit named Dory jumped on top of her owner, Simon, and starting thumping on his chest when he fell into a diabetic coma while sitting on the couch. Simon’s wife, who had thought her husband was only sleeping, realized something was wrong thanks to Dory. Paramedics came immediately and were able to revive Simon.

Exotic animals can also be of assistance in times of emergency. 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 kept returning to the house to check on Joann. Finally, someone stopped and followed the pig back to the house where they saw Joann was in distress. Because of that pig, Joann was rushed to the hospital and her life was saved.

An eight-year-old girl named Amber was saved by a four-year-old elephant during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The elephant bent down and got Amber to come onto its back and went toward higher ground just as the waves started to crash around them. “If she had been on the beach on her own, she would never have lived,” Amber’s mother recalled.

We’ve all heard stories of how dolphins have saved lives, but this story is truly remarkable. A female diver in China named Yang Yun was part of a competition to hold her breath for as long as possible inside a pool filled with beluga whales. During the competition, Yun was unable to move her legs and started to drown. One of the beluga whales immediately swam to the diver and lifted Yun to the surface so she was able to breathe, thus saving her life.

There have been many accounts of dogs who can predict seizures, cats who awaken their families because of fires, even a rabbit who alerted its owners of a house fire in Australia.

If you have a story to share about a remarkable animal, please post it online for other readers to see. There is so much we still need to learn about the relationships between humans and animals and how we can not only live in harmony, but help each other.


Adoptable Pet of the Week

Oscar is a solid black eight-year-old feline. He’s friendly, playful, active, and inquisitive. He loves people and enjoys being petted and pampered and will give you little love bites.

Oscar is also an FIV positive cat with no other health issues. Most FIV positive cats live long, healthy, symptom-free lives. It is a cat-only disease that cannot be spread to humans or other non-felines. An altered cat is unlikely to infect other cats, if properly introduced, and must be kept indoors. Oscar gets along with other FIV cats, children, and dogs. This boy is tired of shelter living and needs a loving home to call his own.

To learn more about Oscar, call the Santa Barbara Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) at 683-3368 or visit asapcats.org.

ASAP is located at the S.B. Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd. (just beyond the Humane Society). Regular business hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Sundays.


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