1. Todd saved his owner from a rattlesnake
Paula Godwin was out hiking on an Arizona trail with her two dogs when one of them, Todd, jumped in front of her to protect her from a rattlesnake she was about to step on. He was bitten on the snout, but he made a full recovery.
2. Three lions saved a girl from abduction
A 12-year-old Ethiopian girl was about to be abducted and beaten by men attempting to force her into marriage when three lions stepped in to chase them away. A police sergeant reported that he found the three lions guarding the girl when they arrived to rescue her, and they only retreated back into a nearby forest when they did so.
3. Therapy dogs comforted students after the Sandy Hook massacre
The Sandy Hook massacre left 20 first-graders and six members of staff at the elementary school dead back in 2012. Therapy dogs, specifically golden retrievers from the Hudson Valley Golden Retrievers Club, were brought in to comfort the students and staff lucky to escape with their lives.
4. Scarlett saved her kittens from a raging fire
Scarlett the cat was living in an abandoned garage with her recently-born kittens when the place set on fire. Firefighters who arrived at the scene described the new mom removing her young from the building one by one. She was severely burned to the point where her eyes were blistered shut, but she made a full recovery.
5. Lily helped to rescue people trapped in tornado wreckage
A powerful tornado once hit Joplin, Missouri, and Lily was on hand for an entire two weeks after it happened to help search for survivors underneath the rubble of the devastated city. What’s particularly surprising about this beautiful act of heroism is that Lily herself was recovering from a mysterious illness at the time.
6. Various dogs helped 9/11 survivors
Many individuals emerged as heroes in the carnage following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but many of the dogs that were involved in the search and rescue operations remained unsung – until now. More than 300 dogs were dispatched to the former site of the Twin Towers, and one of them even managing to pull the last remaining survivor found at the site, Genelle Guzman-McMillan, from the rubble some 27 hours after the second tower collapsed.
7. Lulu saved her human's life
LuLu the potbellied pig found her own way of calling for help after her owner, Jo Ann Altsman, suffered a heart attack in 1998. She made her way out onto the road outside her owner’s house and laid down as if she was dead. When a man found her, Lulu led him back to Jo Ann. The man immediately called the emergency services and she was saved.
8. Stubby fought in World War I
Sergeant Stubby was the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment of the US military during the First World War. He served for 18 months and fought in 17 battles, alerting his regiment to mustard gas attacks and finding the wounded. He was even given a half-page obituary in the New York Times when he died in 1926.
9. A beluga whale saved a diver from drowning
Freediver Yang Yun was taking part in a freediving competition using no breathing apparatus with the aim of staying at the bottom of a 20-foot pool the longest. She was diving in Arctic temperatures, and her legs were crippled with cramps when she tried to return to the surface. Luckily, a beluga whale in the pool noticed that she was in difficulty, and nudged her up to the surface so that she could breathe again.
10. Cher Ami helped to rescue hundreds of people during World War I
Cher Ami was a homing pigeon that served during the First World War. She is credited with saving some 194 men that were surrounded by enemy lines and being fired on by their own artillery. As she took flight on October 3rd, 1918 with her vitally important message, she was shot at and wounded by German troops, but still managed to get back to division headquarters (25 miles away) in just 25 minutes. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre with a Palm Oak Leaf Cluster for her heroic service, delivering no less than 12 important messages in the heat of battle.
11. A bear saved a hiker from a mountain lion
A man named Robert Briggs was hiking through California when he was suddenly attacked by a mountain lion. The big cat pounced on him at one point along his route, and he was sure he was a goner until a black bear showed up. It grabbed the mountain lion by its neck, causing it to scamper off. As the story goes, the black bear got down on all fours, looked Briggs in the eyes, and walked away.
12. Lefty took a bullet for her owner
Four intruders entered Lefty the pitbull’s home one night in 2013, and she promptly sprang into action to save her humans. She sprang in front of one of her humans, who was chasing one of the intruders, and actually took a bullet for him. Lefty ended up having to have one of her legs amputated, but she lived to tell the tale (no pun intended). In fact, she was hailed as a hero all over the world.