Hero Pets: Animals Who Saved Their Owners’ Lives


It should come as no surprise to our readers that there are pets out there saving lives like furry superheroes. We are all familiar with search and rescue dogs, police dogs, guard dogs, and military service dogs, so we know that there are animals doing hard work to keep people safe. But it’s not just working dogs that save lives. Sometimes, heroes come in other shapes and sizes. Here are some of our favorite stories from around the internet about regular animals saving lives.

Babu the Shih Tzu

You may remember back in March of 2011 when an earthquake struck the Japanese town of Miyako, Japan. The event was devastating and led to a tsunami that caused extensive property damage and took many lives. 83-year-old Tami Akanuma lived about 200-yards from the coast in Miyako with her 11-year-old Shih Tzu, Babu. That morning Babu was stressed and anxious, desperately trying to get Tami to take their daily walk early.

After much pacing and anxiety, Tami finally gave in and took Babu for his much-desired walk. Babu’s strange behavior continued. He dragged Tami in the opposite direction of their normal walk, rushing her up the nearby hill. It was only minutes after they crested the top of the hill that the tsunami struck, erasing their path, home, and neighborhood. Tami didn’t doubt Babu’s instincts to change course, and as a result, the pair survived the disaster.

Tommy the Tabby Cat

It is common for a dog to rescue humans, and many breeds are trained specifically to assist in such situations. But cats don’t shy away from saving their owner’s life when needed. One Thursday in 2006, Police received a 911 call from Gary Rosheisen’s apartment. Trouble was, no one was on the other end of the line. Police called back, but again there was no answer, so Officer Patrick Daugherty was sent on a wellness check.

When Officer Daugherty arrived, he found Tommy the Tabby Cat sitting next to the phone on the floor of Gary’s living room. He investigated further to find that Gary had fallen out of his wheelchair and was unable to get up. He wasn’t wearing his medical-alert necklace and had fallen too far to call for help himself. Gary had been trying to train Tommy to dial 911 in just such an instance, and his forethought and Tommy’s cleverness saved his life. Gary had adopted Tommy three years prior to help lower his blood pressure, so it seems Tommy helped rescued Gary more than once.

Kelsey the Golden Retriever

On a snowy New Year’s Eve in Michigan in 2016, Bob was watching football at home. During a commercial break, he decided to run outside to grab some more wood for his fire. Thinking it would be a quick trip, he ventured out into the freezing night in only his long johns and slippers. But, before he could make it back inside, he slipped and fell, breaking his neck. Bob was stuck laying in the snow in 24-degree weather. He was screaming for help, but his nearest neighbor was a quarter mile away and did not hear him.

Fortunately, his Golden Retriever, Kelsey came to his aid. It was 10:30 p.m., and she stayed by his side until morning. She laid on his chest to keep him warm and licked his hands and face to keep him alert through the cold night. Then, when his voice was hoarse from yelling all night, she took up the call by barking all morning until help arrived. Bob was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for his broken neck and hypothermia.

Gracie the Cat

The night of February 4, 2017 was an eventful evening for the Shanahan family. Their home had been filled with dangerous levels of carbon monoxide while they were sleeping, and as a result, Annette and her husband Kevin were out of sorts. It was about 1 a.m. when Annette stumbled out of bed, woozy, before crumpling into a nearby chair.

But Gracie, the family cat, knew something was up, and began pounding on their bedroom door to get their attention. Gracie is not typically interested in the couple’s bedroom, so the incessant pounding at the door was enough to get Kevin out of bed to get her to stop. It was then that he saw his wife collapsed on the chair and knew something was wrong. He immediately called 911 for help. When rescuers arrived, they discovered the deadly levels of carbon monoxide from a failing water heater.

Ted the Border Collie

Josie Conlan adopted Border Collie, Ted, from a local shelter after he had been in an abusive living situation. She said it took him a while to become one of the family, but he eventually became comfortable in his new home with his new humans. Josie suffers from Benign Breast Disease, and as a result has regular lumps. Because of the disease and their common occurrence, a new lump rarely concerned her. But, on this occasion, Ted was concerned.

A new lump had been around for a couple of weeks, but Josie wasn’t worried about it. Ted, however, would not stop crying or pawing at it. The incessant nuzzling and distress from Ted inspired Josie and her husband to get it checked out. It was confirmed that the lump Ted had been pawing at was indeed breast cancer. Because of his determination, Josie was able to get the lump removed and fight the cancer.

Pets can save lives in so many ways. Sometimes, it’s just their comforting presence that helps their humans through rough situations. Other times, like those listed above, pets spring into action to keep their family safe.

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