10 Amazing Animal Rescue Stories
Read harrowing tales of how people escaped death with the help of their pets
By Alexandra Gekas
There’s no doubt a family pet enriches the lives of its owners, but we wouldn’t be giving Fido and Fluffy enough credit if we stopped there. Against great obstacles, animals have shown their dedication through unbelievable acts of heroism. Whether they saved their owners from an animal attack, alerted them to a fire or led the way for emergency responders, here are 10 amazing stories of animals who came to the rescue.
Cat Saves Owner from Dog Attack
In June 2010, two pit bulls attacked Cherry Woods while she was walking in her neighborhood near Houston, Texas. When her husband couldn’t get the dogs off her, the couple’s cat, Lima, came to her rescue. Hissing and clawing, Lima directed the canines’ attention toward herself long enough for Woods’s husband to drag her to safety. Although Woods was injured, she and Lima survived the incident.
Dog Leads Police to Burning Home
When Ben Heinrichs’s workshop caught fire in April 2010, he turned to his German shepherd, Buddy, and said: “We need to get help!” Heinrichs was exclaiming out loud, not commanding his pooch, so when Buddy ran off, the last thing he expected was that Buddy would return with just that. A state trooper’s dashboard camera actually caught Buddy on tape as he ran out to the road, signaled for attention and led the trooper back to the fire. The trooper then directed the fire department to the scene, where they were able to put out the blaze before it spread to the family’s home. Buddy was given an award and a silver-plated bowl from the Alaska State Troopers for his heroism.
Cat Saves Sleeping Owner from Gas Leak
Schnautzie the cat wasn’t looking for affection that day in April 2010 when she sat on her owner Trudy Guy’s chest and started tapping her nose. Schnautzie was saving Guy’s life. When Guy was awoken by her feline friend, she heard the roaring of a gas pipe, which had broken outside her bathroom. She was able to escape and call for help, but firefighters told her the house could have blown up with her inside if Schnautzie hadn’t alerted her to the danger. For her valor, the cat received the Purple Paw award from the Animal Foundation of Great Falls, Montana.
Dog Fights Pirates
Two years into their around-the-world sailing trip in the summer of 2008, British couple Peter Lee, 61, and his wife Betty, 57, were boating off the coast of Venezuela when they were attacked by pirates. After the five men boarded the yacht and tied the couple up, their 2-year-old hunting dog, Kankuntu, ferociously attacked the men until they shot and stabbed him. Fortunately, the pirates left after pillaging the boat and the Lees were able dress Kankuntu’s wounds until they could get him medical attention.
Dog Saves Owner from Fire…Twice
When Candace Jennings of Idaho City, Idaho, rescued Anna, a blue heeler from an animal shelter, she had no idea how the dog would repay the favor. In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning 2007, Anna began howling and nudging her owner until Jennings woke up only to find her trailer on fire. Both escaped, but when Jennings re-entered the home to get something, she was overcome by smoke and became disoriented, unable to find her way back out. Luckily, Anna—who had followed Jennings inside—helped her get out again.
Dog Fights Deadly Snake
In October 2007, as 17-month-old Charlotte Svillicic was playing in the backyard of her family’s Australian home, the family’s Doberman pinscher, Khan, began to snarl. A king brown snake (the third most venomous kind in the world) was under the house. Khan tried to nudge the toddler away, but when she didn’t budge, the dog lifted the toddler by her diaper and tossed her several feet behind him, just as the snake lunged and bit his paw—instead of her. After receiving antivenin, the dog made a full recovery and was hailed “Khan the Wonder Dog” by his owners.
Dog Performs Heimlich Maneuver
While eating an apple at home in March 2007, Debbie Parkhurst began choking. After she unsuccessfully tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself, her 2-year-old golden retriever, Toby, went into action. Standing up on his hind legs and pushing her to the ground, the pooch began jumping up and down on her chest until the apple became dislodged, after which he licked her face to keep her conscious.
Dog Saves Elderly Couple from Freezing in Woods
On a brisk fall night in October 2006, Eve and Norman Fertig, both 81 years old, went outside to tend to injured animals in their forested sanctuary in upstate New York. But as they were working, a massive storm hit, toppling trees and trapping the couple outdoors. Lucky for them, their dog, Shana, a wolf and German shepherd mix, was with them. As the temperature dropped, Shana started to dig a path underneath the fallen trees with her mouth and paws. After hours of work, she was able to burrow to the other side. The intrepid canine threw Mrs. Fertig over her back, and with Mr. Fertig holding on to her legs, pulled them both through to the other side to safety.
Cat Dials 911
When police officer Patrick Daughtery entered the home of Gary Rosheisen in December 2005, he was surprised by what he found. Rosheisen had fallen out of his wheelchair and was on the ground near his bed; his tabby cat, Tommy, lay next to the telephone on the living room floor. According to police, a 911 call had come from the apartment. When the dispatch department heard silence on the line, they decided to check the home. Rosheisen later said he had tried to teach Tommy to call 911 years before, but was unsure whether it worked…until that day.
Dog Saves World Trade Center Survivor
Trakr the German shepherd may be a trained police dog, but his act of heroism went above and beyond the call of duty. Trakr and his master, Canadian police officer James Symington, were working on a search-and-rescue team in the wake of the September 11th attacks when the dog picked up the scent of a human. Rescuers then dug 30 feet under unstable debris to save the 32-year-old woman, who was the last survivor recovered from the World Trade Center site.
The video below is one of my favorite stories in the last few months. Why does this dog do this? The loyalty is amazing.
This video profiles how Angel, a dog, saved her 11 year old owner from a cougar. It’s a great story from the Today Show.
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