Tara the cat

In 2014, a four-year-old boy was scooting around on a tricycle in the driveway of his family’s home. Little did he know, the neighbor’s dog had broke loose and heard him playing nearby.

Home security cameras captured footage of the dog running up to the boy from behind, grabbing a fold of his jean, and yanking him aggressively off the tricycle.

Tara a 7-year-old female cat looks out at the media after being presented with the 33rd Annual National Hero Dog Award by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Los Angeles (SPCALA) on June 19, 2015. In May, 2014, Tara became a YouTube sensation with the video 'My Cat Saved My Son' after she fought off a neighbors dog that attacked her owners son Jeremy in the driveway of their Bakersfield, California home. The SPCALA broke with tradition by presenting the award to a cat. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON Tara a 7-year-old female cat looks out at the media after being presented with the 33rd Annual National Hero Dog Award by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Los Angeles (SPCALA) on June 19, 2015. In May, 2014, Tara became a YouTube sensation with the video 'My Cat Saved My Son' after she fought off a neighbors dog that attacked her owners son Jeremy in the driveway of their Bakersfield, California home. The SPCALA broke with tradition by presenting the award to a cat. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

The dog then began shaking the boy’s leg back and forth – a behavior that signifies aggression. The family cat, a tortoise shell tabby named Tara, comes running out and lunges into the dog – who was much bigger than her – with such force, she knocked the dog off of the boy.

She then chased the startled dog off the property. For her act of bravery, she was awarded the Hero Dog award – the first cat to do so.

The security footage of Tara’s heroic act was viewed over 50 million times on YouTube.

Shelby the shepherd

In 2018, Louise Robillard took her 13-year-old shepherd mix rescue, Shelby, for a walk on a trail near her home. During their stroll, they saw three young black bear cubs on the trail ahead – but not the mama bear.

That was bad news. If a mother bear sees anyone between her and her cubs, she often immediately assumes they are a threat – and that’s exactly what this mama bear did. She charged at Louise and Shelby.

Shelby the Dog saved her owner from a bear attackShelby the Dog saved her owner from a bear attack
Purina Animal Hall of Fame

Shelby sprung into action, putting herself between her owner and the bear. The bear attacked, and she and Shelby went at it. The fearful owner screamed for her husband who rushed outside. Fearing the worse and afraid for their lives, they ran to their home for cover.

They were certain Shelby had sacrificed her life for them. But they were astonished to see Shelby emerge from the bushes. She was severely wounded. They rushed her to the hospital, and after numerous surgeries, Shelby pulled through and made a full recovery.

Shelby was later added to the Purina Hall of Fame for her bravery.

Masha the cat

Masha was a long-haired cat that lived in the stairwell of an apartment complex in Obninsk, Russia. While she was a ‘stray,’ the building’s residents would give her scrapes of food and affection, so she was doing alright. In early 2015, residents heard the tabby meowing incessantly – something that was out of character for the communal cat.

Masha the catMasha the cat

When a resident went to check on her, they were stunned to see her in a cardboard box, laying on top of a baby who had been abandoned in the freezing Russian winter. Masha was keeping the baby warm with her own body heat and trying to get someone’s attention. The woman who found the two immediately rushed the 11-week-old baby to the hospital, and noted that Masha was following the car for some distance before she lost pace.

The cat was celebrated by the community as a hero for saving the baby’s life.

Bear the lab

In 2012, 30-year-old Patricia Drauch was putting some things away in the garage of family home when her 14-month-old son, Stanley, wandered into the back yard and fell into thee family’s shallow pool.

The family’s loyal black labrador retriever, Bear, saw the incident and leapt into action. Bear got into the pool with the young boy, propping him up so his head was out of water.

bear and the boy he savedbear and the boy he saved

When Patricia turned only to see her son was not where she thought he would be, she frantically searched for him. She found him unconscious, blue in the face, with his eyes rolled in the back of his head – balanced on Bear’s back. Importantly, he was balanced face up so his face was above water. She pulled him out and rushed him to a nearby fire station, where he was revived.

If Bear hadn’t propped him up, it’s hard to say if this story would have ended this way.

Khan the doberman

In 2007, the Svillcic family adopted a previously abused doberman pinscher named Khan.

Just four days later, the mother of the family was stunned and terrified when she saw the dog abruptly pick up her 17-month-old daughter, Charolette, and rapidly toss thee girl behind him snarling.

Khan thee doberman saved girl from rattlesnake attackKhan thee doberman saved girl from rattlesnake attack

Thinking the dog was about to attack her daughter, the mother ran outside and grabbed her daughter. That’s when she saw what Khan had seen: one of the world’s deadliest snakes in the grass where her daughter had been. Khan was trying to scare it off, and suffered a bite as a result. Once the mother had picked up her daughter moved her away from the danger, the dog ran into the house before collapsing.

Luckily, Khan was rushed to a vet who gave him an anti-vemon shot pulled through.

The girl’s mother later told a reporter, ““If Khan wants a gold bowl, Khan gets it. We owe him for the rest of his life.”

Sadie the shepherd

Sadie is a 100 pound, full-grown German shepherd that had been surrendered by her previous owner because they were moving to a place that didn’t allow the breed. Sadie was a handful, and as a result, was turned down by three different shelters before being taken in by Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, a ‘last hope’ shelter.

Fifty-nine-year-old Brian Myers was warned of Sadie’s behavioral problems, but decided to take a chance on the beautiful shepherd anyways, adopting her.

Sadie thee dog saved Brian Meyers from a strokeSadie thee dog saved Brian Meyers from a stroke
Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge

In January, Meyers contracted COVID-19. Just when he thought he was in the clear, he suffered a stroke in his bedroom – a common occurrence in the aftermath of the virus.

Immobilized on the floor, Sadie rushed over to him, licking his face to keep him awake. He grabbed her by the collar, and she helped pull him across the room to where his phone was. Brian was able to call for help.

Brian’s family took her in while he recovered from the stroke in the hospital – but he reportedly FaceTimed with Sadie regularly during his stay. They had a joyous reunion at the hospital a few weeks later.

Willie the parrot

In 2009, a babysitter was startled to hear the her pet parrot shrieking ‘Mama! Baby!’ and wildly flapping his wings in his cage, located in the kitchen of the home. The babysitter had stepped out of the room briefly, leaving the toddler she was babysitting there to eat her breakfest.

According to the sitter, the parrot has said ‘mama’ before, but this was their first time Willie had ever said ‘baby’ – and he hasn’t since.

willie the parrot willie the parrot
Fox25 via YouTube

As it turned out, the parrot was trying to alert the sitter that the young girl was choking. The sitter came to check out the commotion only to see the that the child was turning blue in the face.  She performed the Heimlich maneuver and revived the young girl.

Willie the parrot was later recognized by the American Red Cross as an animal hero.

Clover the Maremma

In March of 2021, a Canadian woman was out walking her dog when she had a major seizure, falling to the ground. A neighbor’s security camera caught the incident on tape – as well as what happened next.

The woman’s dog seems startled at first, turning around and looking her owner in the face. A car goes by, and Clover watches it pass.

clover the dogclover the dog

As though she understood the missed opportunity, Clover is then seen untangling the leash from her fallen owner. She then cautiously walks out to the middle of the street as a truck makes its way down the road. The truck driver had to come to a stop to avoid the dog in the middle of the road, facing the driver with her leash in her mouth.

That prompted the driver to survey the surroundings. That’s when they spotted the dog’s owner lying unconscious on the sidewalk, and stopped to help. Clover’s owner was treated by paramedics and made a full recovery.

Kelsey the golden retriever

In 2017, a Michigan man stepped outside into subfreezing temperatures in long johns and house slippers to gather some firewood on his property, just a few meters away. The man lost his footing and fell, breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed in the snow.

The man called for help, but the nearest neighbor was some distance off. Luckily, his 5-year-old golden retriever, Kelsey, saw what happened.

McLaren Northern Michigan

Kelsey laid on top of her owner for a full 24 hours howling nonstop, keeping him warm and awake with her own body heat in the freezing cold. The next morning, a neighbor came by to pick up some fresh eggs, and found him lying there with Kelsey, determined to keep him warm.

The man was rushed to a hospital where his neck was operated on and incredibly, was able to regain some motor functions, all thanks to Kelsey, who didn’t give on him.

Fluffy the cat

Eighty-four-year-old Ron Williams lived alone. Well, not entirely – his cat, Fluffy, lived there too.

Ron talks to Fluffy a lot – he got him because he wanted the companionship. That included calling out a playful ‘ring ding ding’ whenever the phone rang.

Ron Williams and Fluffy the catRon Williams and Fluffy the cat

In 2020, Ron was taking a shower when he slipped and fell. He lie there on the shower floor for over 15 hours, unable to get up at all.

Then, he threw out a Hail Mary. He called out ‘ring ding ding.’ His phone was on the counter in the bathroom where he fell. Fluffy jumped up onto the counter and knocked it off onto the bathroom floor, where Williams was able to reach it and call for help.

Lilly the pit bull

In 2012, Christine Spain was walking her pit bull Lilly along train tracks when she fainted and did not immediately regain consciousness. While it’s unclear how long she was passed out, what happened next was reported by the conductor – of the oncoming freight train.

Lilly the pitbullLilly the pitbull

The engineer says he saw something on the tracks ahead and tried to stop the train. Freight trains are heavy and require lots of clearance to come to a stop. As the train braked, the engineer realized that what he was seeing on the tracks was a dog trying to pull its owner off. He pulled all the emergency brakes, but was horrified to see they wouldn’t be able to fully stop in time before hearing a thud underneath.

Incredibly, Lilly had successfully pulled her owner fully off the tracks – but was run over herself in the process. The dog sustained serious injuries, including a broken femur, internal bleeding and her right foot was sliced off.

However, she made a full recovery and her heroic and self-sacrificing act made headlines.

Killian the lab

When the Jordan family moved to South Carolina, they hired a nanny to take care of their 7-month-old son while they were at work.

Little problem though. Thee family’s black lab Killian did not like the nanny.

Killian is usually mild mannered, so Jordans were initially embarrassed at the way the dog growled at then nanny when she came over. He would position himself between her and the baby.

To their surprise, the dog’s behavior escalated to the point that he actually went after the nanny.

Killian the labKillian the lab

The couple was so thrown off by the dog’s out-of-character behavior, they wondered why he had only shown this behavior around her.

They hid an iPhone under their couch one day – and were shocked at what they found.

In the recording, the nanny was heard calling their son awful names. They also heard numerous slapping sounds followed by their son’s cries, and there was even a part where it sounded like she was shaking their baby.

The recording was later used in the nanny’s trial, and she was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to 1–3 years in jail.

Killian, as it turned. out, was trying to protect the baby from the nanny’s abuse all along.

Lulu the pot-bellied pig

In 1998, Jo Ann Altsman suffered a heart attack while she was home alone. She lied on the ground immobilized. Her dog barked and the woman called out, but no one heard them.

The woman’s pot-bellied pig Lulu sensed these cries for help weren’t going to be enough. She squeezed under the yard’s fence – cutting herself all over her back, stomach, and sides in the process. She ran into the street where she laid down in the middle, playing dead.

Several drivers just went around her, and with each failed attempt, Lulu went back inside to check on Jo Ann, incurring more scrapes and cuts every time she went in and out.

Finally, a driver saw the bleeding pig lying in the street and stopped. When he got out of his car, the pig sprung up and shuffled back toward the house. The man followed her, and eventually heard Jo Ann calling help.

Doctors later said that if Jo Ann had gone another 15 minutes, she wouldn’t have made it. Thankfully, her quick-thinking, determined oinker wasn’t going to let that happen.

Lulu was later commemorated with a bronze statue in the Louisville zoo.

Honey the cocker spaniel

In 2005, Michael Bosch was driving his Toyota 4runner down a windy road with is 5-month-old cocker spaniel, Honey, in tow.

Coming around a curve, Bosch lost control of his vehicle and rolled down an 80-foot ravine, when he was pinned in the wreckage, upside down. He had broken five ribs and was bleeding internally.

When he realized what had happened, he had to calm himself down. No one would know he was down here – there was no reason to look.

When Honey whimpered in the back, he reached over, grabbed her, and shimmied her through a broken window, being careful to not cut her on the broken glass. He gave her a loving pat and told her ‘go home baby.’ Mike later said he figured she didn’t have to die like this.

honey the cocker spaniel2honey the cocker spaniel2
The Knight Shift

The dog raced up the ravine and disappeared.

Hours later, he was startled to hear the slam of a car door. He cried out, and to his amazement, someone called back.

After rescue crews got Mike out of the car and to the hospital, he found out that Honey had ran to a neighbor’s house and waited for her to get home before leading her to the scene of the accident.

Bosch survived, and he and Honey were reunited in the hospital.

Honey was named Dog of the Year in 2006.

Lefty the pit bull

In 2013, four intruders who were armed crept into a residential home and robbed them. When the homeowner investigated the commotion, one of the intruders lifted his weapon and pointed it at the homeowner’s head. Lefty, the family’s pit bull, leapt up in between the assailant and his owner right as the intruder pulled the trigger.

Lefty the pitbullLefty the pitbull
Atlantic Animal Hospital

Lefty took the bullet. The intruders ultimately fled, and the people in the home were unharmed. Lefty on the other hand, was critically injured.

Luckily, she pulled through, but one of her front legs had to be amputated. Three weeks later, she was back home with her family who never would have expected that their dog would someday literally take a bullet for them.

Bubu the Chihuahua

In August of 2020, 88-year-old Rudy Armstrong awoke in his houseboat residence and noticed he didn’t have much feeling in his foot. Thinking he just needed to get it moving, he didn’t think much of it and made himself some coffee.

Then Armstrong realized that not only was his foot not going back to normal, but his hand started to feel numb as well. Between the two, Armstrong was immobilized. He was overcome with fear and dread.

He called out to Bubu, his chihuahua companion, who came to his side. He says he put his hand on her head, and told her in a tone he had never used before: ‘Go get Kim.’

Bubu the chihuahuaBubu the chihuahua
Carolina East Health System

Bubu seemed to understand the urgency. She scampered off the boat and down the dock.

When Kim saw the dog coming straight toward her, she thought maybe Bubu had gotten out. She picked the little dog up and carried her back to Armstrong’s boat. When she found Armstrong, she called for an ambulance.

As it turned out, Armstrong had suffered a stroke. Armstrong had feared days might go by before someone came to check on him. Luckily, his four-legged friend wasn’t about to let that happen.

Edgar the hound

In 2019, Thom Lambert was awoken to the sound of his dog Edgar growling and howling in frantic distress. When he got out of bed to quiet the dog down, he heard footsteps scurrying down the staircase and out the door.

Lambert called the police who came and searched the home. They didn’t find anything. Lambert, his wife, and his three daughters were spooked, but life went on.

About a week later, police took a man named Thomas Dewald into custody. Dewald had kidnapped a 4-year-old girl, who he was keeping in a trunk, bound with tape, under his bed.

edgar the houndedgar the hound
Thom Lambert

Luckily, the little girl waited until he left the house, got out of the trunk and made a run for it.

Disappointed his victim had gotten away, Dewald went on the prowl for a new one. Knowing the Lamberts had three kids, he told police he had broken into the Lambert’s home that night, but was startled by a dog as he made his way upstairs to the girls’ bedrooms.

It’s a frighteningly real possibility that Dewald would have taken one of Lambert girls that night. But he failed to account for one very important variable: Edgar the hound dog.

Babu the shih tzu

Babu wasn’t an especially active dog, so when she started getting agitated and whimpering one day, her owner was caught off guard.

Seeing the dog was in distress, she resolved to take her outside for a bit, get some fresh air.

When they got outside, Babu did something she never did – she started pulling in the opposite direction of their usual route, up the hill the woman lived on instead of down toward the nearby shore.

The two walked about a kilometer uphill with Babu practically choking herself out on the leash. Then her owner heard a rumbling sound.

Looking back in the direction they came, the owner was stunned to see a massive Tsunami (the 2011 Japan tsunami) rushing into the lower grounds, completely submerging the woman’s house where they were just minutes before.

Animals are much better at detecting early warning signs that of natural disasters –  and that’s exactly what Babu did.

Gatubela the cat

In 2019, 1-year-old Samuel awoke from his afternoon nap. In a curious mood, instead of making noise to get is mother’s attention as he usually did, the toddler scaled his crib and lowered himself onto the floor of the bedroom. From there, he enthusiastically. started crawling toward the bedroom door – which led to a steep, concrete staircase to the lower floor of the house.

Gratubela the catGratubela the cat

The family cat, Gatubela had watched the youngster climb out of his crib, and when she saw he make his way toward the door, she sprung into action. She darted out in front of him, putting herself between Samuel and the door. She then pushed the toddler back toward the crib with all her might. At one point in the video, she is seen literally wrapping her whole body over the baby and pushing him away from the staircase.

Watching the footage, there’s little doubt Gatubela understood the danger – and that she was the only one who could stop it. Luckily, she rose to the occasion, and the family would later see her protective action on the nanny cam.

If you liked this story about incredible animal heroes, checkout these heartwarming photos of rescue animals finding their forever homes.