Not all heroes are Supermen, or women. in fact often times they aren’t human at all. I wanted to highlight just a few of them.
Many of us “rescue” animals—we choose our pets based, in part, on those animals in need of homes.
Animals aren’t always the rescued—sometimes, they’re the rescuers. Here are five amazing animal hero stories to inspire you!
Whales Help Out a Human Diver
Yang Yun entered a diving competition in which the competitors sought to stay underwater without breathing equipment, at the bottom of a Beluga whale tank, for the longest period of time. The tanks, in keeping with the Beluga’s natural arctic environment, were incredibly cold. That cold can have unpredictable effects on a diver’s body.
Yun discovered this firsthand when she kicked off for the surface—her legs cramped up and stopped functioning. As quoted by Fox News, Yun said, “I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me. I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me, driving me to the surface.”
Mila and Nicola, two of the whales in the tank, had taken note of Yun’s distress, and helped their human counterpart to the surface.
Gorilla Saves a Human Toddler
At the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, a human mother’s worst nightmare seemed about to come true. A three-year old toddler climbed a barrier and fell 24 feet into an animal enclosure. And not just any animal enclosure—one inhabited by 7 gorillas. The boy seemed to be knocked unconscious by the fall. The gorillas gathered around to investigate this strange visitor to their home.
But before any of the other gorillas could get the wrong idea or harm the little human, one gorilla, a mother herself,intervened, growling to ensure her counterparts backed off. Binti Jua, whose name means “daughter of sunshine,” gathered the toddler up in her arms. With her own 17 month old baby riding piggy back, she gently carried the helpless child to one of the enclosure doors, where he could be retrieved by a zookeeper.
Potbelly Pig Fetches Help for Heart Attack Sufferer
JoAnn Altsman collapsed. She was suffering a major heart attack. There was no way for JoAnn to get to the phone or call for help—at least, no way she could do it herself. And there were no other human beings around to lend her aid. But that didn’t stop Lulu, her daughter’s pet piggy from doing her best—and it paid off.
Lulu, understandably unfamiliar with how to operate a phone, busted out of the Altsman home, and threw herself down in traffic in the hopes of getting someone to stop. At first, no one did, and Lulu returned to the house to check on JoAnn. Finding JoAnn still incapacitated, Lulu refused to give up. Thanks to her determination, someone finally did stop. Altsman was rushed to medical care, and survived—and Lulu lived a pampered piggy life thereafter. She even got to be the guest of honor at a very special ASPCA ceremony!
Pitbull Takes on Train for Unconscious Owner
We often hear about pit bulls being demonized by the media as aggressive dogs, but they’re just as likely to be heroes. When the engineer of a freight train travelling through Massachusetts saw the dog and woman on the tracks, he knew there wouldn’t be time to stop, but he still tried. When he felt the “thump” he knew he had failed.
Christine Spain was walking her beloved pit bull, Lilly, and had been crossing the tracks when she tripped and fell. She hit her head, knocking her unconscious. Lilly began frantically tugging at her human mom to wake her up, when the train appeared. She managed,just barely,to get Christine off the tracks.—but it was at the expense of Lilly being hit herself. This courageous canine hadn’t given up, even at the last moment, when she knew she herself would be hit.
Lilly’s injuries were life threatening, but her strength and brave spirit pulled her through. Despite having her front leg amputated, she remains a happy, fun-loving member of the family to this day!
The parrot who saved a baby
One day in 2006, with Samantha at school, Hannah had perched herself in front of morning cartoons while Meagan fussed in the kitchen, preparing the little girl her favorite breakfast treat, a Pop-Tart. When the toaster spit out the pastry, Meagan placed it at the center of the kitchen table to cool. She peeked at Hannah and, confident the child was fully engaged with the TV, slipped out quickly to use the bathroom.
“I was gone maybe 30 seconds,” Meagan recalls. “And suddenly, I heard the bird.” Willie was “going crazy, squawking and shrieking.”
She heard two very distinct words from the parrot’s mouth.
Repeated over and over again. “Mama! Baby! Mama! Baby!”
Meagan ran out of the bathroom to find Hannah in the kitchen, holding the partly eaten Pop-Tart, gasping for air, her face and lips a terrifying shade of blue. And Willie still shrieking his refrain.
“Hannah had climbed up on a chair and gotten the Pop-Tart and she was clearly choking on it,” says Meagan. “I grabbed her and immediately started doing the Heimlich maneuver until the piece came flying out.”
The bird quieted down and Meagan burst into tears, relief washing over her; Hannah was fine, already smiling her big smile.
When Meagan told Samantha what happened, “she was so grateful, thanking me for what I did,” Meagan says. “But I said, ‘Don’t thank me! It was Willie who was the hero!’
All other considerations aside, you never know when the animal you “rescue” could end up rescuing you in return.
Have a great week everyone!