Nearly everyone can remember a beloved pet they had for one reason or another. Whatever the origin, animals have been important parts of many people’s lives. Sometimes, that importance can’t be overstated. A number of people are only alive today because of the actions of their furry friends. This is a list of few animals that made themselves memorable for saving their owner’s life.
During the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, Babu, a Shih Tzu, was living with her owner, 83-year-old Tami Akanuma, in Miyako, Japan. Shortly after the earthquake struck, Babu signaled to Akanuma that she wanted to go on a walk. While it was earlier than the normal time, she obliged and took the dog outside. As they were heading out the door, the town’s tsunami warning system started blaring, and Akanuma felt the need to evacuate. However, Babu began heading for a nearby hill, straining at her leash whenever Akanuma tried to guide her away. When they finally got to the top, which was nearly 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) from her home, Akanuma looked back and saw the devastation which had engulfed her town. Almost everything was destroyed, including Akanuma’s house, where she would have been had it not been for Babu.
Cluck Cluck, a pet chicken of a family in Alma Center, Wisconsin, became a heroine on the morning of December 27, 2012.Dennis Murawska and his wife Susan Cotey were sleeping when Cluck Cluck, who slept in the basement, woke them up at 6:15 AM. Dennis got up to see what was bothering her. That’s when he discovered his garage was on fire, and it was spreading to the rest of his house. Unfortunately, the smoke detectors in the garage had failed to work properly and didn’t alert anyone of the blaze. Dennis immediately woke his wife up, and they fled the house, narrowly escaping with their lives. Cluck Cluck was left behind, but firefighters later found her alive. In a twist of fate, Dennis’s neighbor was the original owner of the chicken and was going to kill her because she wasn’t producing any eggs. Dennis felt sorry for the chicken because she also had a mutated foot, and he asked his neighbor to let him keep her.
LuLu, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, was owned by an elderly couple in Presque Isle, Pennsylvania. On August 4, 1998, Jo Ann Altsman had suffered a heart attack nearly 18 months earlier and was at risk for another one, which she did have on a day when she was home alone. Jo Ann called for help, but she was too far away from the road for anyone to hear. Her dog Bear was no help; he just sat there and barked. LuLu then sprang into action by crawling through the doggy door and wandering into the road, where she lay down. Eventually, someone stopped and followed LuLu back to Jo Ann, who was rushed to the hospital. LuLu’s reward: a great big jelly doughnut.
Mila, a captive beluga whale in Harbin, China, became a heroine in July 2009. At Polar Land, a competition was being held where divers would sink to the bottom of the 6-meter (20 ft) beluga whale tank, which was kept at frigid temperatures, and stay there as long as they could. Yang Yun, a 26-year-old woman, was at the bottom of the tank when her legs became crippled due to the intense cold.
She tried to swim but was unable to and began to feel herself running out of breath. Mila, noticing her troubles, grabbed one of Yun’s legs and pushed her to the surface.
Willie, a Quaker parrot, was owned by a woman named Megan Howard in Denver, Colorado. One day in November 2008, when Howard was babysitting a toddler named Hannah, Willie noticed the child beginning to choke on her food. Howard had just left the room to go to the bathroom. He began flapping his wings, screaming out. When Howard came back to look at the bird, he started calling out “Mama baby” over and over again because the child had begun turning blue. She rushed over to Hannah just in time and dislodged the food from the toddler’s throat, saving her life. Willie was rewarded with the Red Cross’s Animal Lifesaver Award, the first parrot to receive that honor.
Inky was adopted by the Kruger family after she was left on a local cat lover’s porch, severely malnourished. Glen Kruger instantly fell in love with the three-month-old kitten and dutifully raised her, bringing her back to good health. That paid off on January 23, 2009, when Glen fell down his cellar stairs, breaking his arm and fracturing one of his vertebrae. Everyone else in the house was asleep and couldn’t hear his pleas for help, except for Inky, now seven years old. Glen told her to go get his wife Brenda, and she began scratching at the bedroom door. Brenda woke up, thinking the cat wanted to go outside, and noticed her husband at the foot of the cellar stairs. Glen was permanently disabled from the accident, losing over four inches in height, but he survived thanks to the quick actions of Inky.
Pudding, an eight-year-old cat, given up for adoption was adopted by Amy Jung, a resident of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. On February 8, 2012, Jung brought Pudding home and went to bed around 9:30 that night. However, she was a diabetic and wasn’t aware that her blood sugar was too low. She began to have a diabetic seizure. Pudding sprang into action and woke her up. When she couldn’t move, he ran to her son’s room and woke him up. The eight-year-old phoned his father and, using his dad’s instructions, injected his mother with the lifesaving medication she needed. Jung says Pudding still meows whenever her blood sugar gets too low, pestering her until she takes her medicine.
On a dark night in British Columbia on January 2, 2010, Angel, an 18-month-old golden retriever, was walking with her owner, 11-year-old Austin Forman.
Without warning, a cougar leaped out at Austin, and Angel jumped in between them to protect him.
The big cat latched onto the dog’s head, and Austin ran to tell his mother to call the police. When the local constable arrived, he shot at the cougar twice, killing it. Austin’s cousin then had to go in and pull the dead cougar off of the golden retriever, as she was drowning in blood. Angel was rushed to the veterinarian and underwent an hour’s worth of surgery to repair her fractured skull. She recovered fully and was rewarded with a “nice juicy steak.”
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