Photo: via the Orlando Sentinel
Ever watch those extreme animal shows on TV?
You know the ones: 'The Largest Living Reptiles Who'll Eat Your Parakeet' or '100 Ways To Die Courtesy Of A Wildebeest'.
As crazy as they are, they also highlight our complicated relationship with animals.
On one hand, we fear and respect them. On the other hand, we hunt them, eat them, even wear them.
When we don't, they're called pets (either that or they're not very tasty). And some of those pets have gone above and beyond warm, loving companionship.
They've actually saved lives - even without opposable thumbs to dial 911 (having a pet chimps probably isn't wise).
Here we honour 9 amazing life saving animals.
1. Dog Day Afternoon And Evening
The inspiration for this list was a stray dog in Poland named Czarue, who was hailed a hero recently.
Czarue cuddled up to a three-year old girl who'd disappeared from the town of Pierzwin.
The little girl, Julia, ended up alone in a freezing marshland but was kept warm well into the night by the pooch. First responder Grzegorz Szymanski was quoted as saying, "For the whole night the animal was with the girl, it never left her... 5 degrees below zero and the child was wet," he said.
It was not until the next morning that rescuers stumbled across the girl, clinging to Czarue and crying for her mother.
The girl's grandmother said the dog had become the girl's best friend.
2. Pudding Props
Newly adopted 21 pound feline Pudding earned her keep the first day she was brought into a Wisconsin family's home. Soon after going to bed, homeowner Amy Jung started having a diabetic seizure.
The kitty jumped on Jung's chest, nipping her face. When she didn't respond, the cat ran into her son's room, pounced on the bed and woke him up so he could call for help.
Jung told Green Bay's Press Gazette she wouldn't have made it without Pudding and her doctors agree.
3. Princely William
When people think of parrots, they're usually the subject of a joke about one that saunters into a bar.
However, they're no bird brains. Case in point: Willie, a Quaker parrot in Colorado whose squawking got the attention of his owners when their 2-year-old toddler suddenly turned blue.
Photo: via the Associated Press
According to owner Megan Howard, "Willie started screaming like I'd never heard him scream before... Then he started saying 'Mama baby' over and over."
The child, who'd choked on a snack, was given the Heimlich and recovered. For his efforts, the parrot was given a mile-high salute, honoured by the Denver Red Cross chapter's Animal Lifesaver Award.
4. Honey's Sweet Move
Here's a scary headline: B.C. third-grader recovering from a pit bull attack.
According to a report in the Chilliwack Times, the 8-year-old girl was playing outside her grandparents' home when a neighbour's pit bull slipped out of its enclosure and charged.
As the dog attacked the girl, her four-year old Chihuahua, stepped in and distracted the pit bull long enough for its owner to collar it.
Photo: Via Tyler Olsen, Chilliwack Times
The girl, Jenna, needed hundreds of stitches. Yet, at the hospital, she told her crying mother, "Don't cry, Mommy; it's OK."
5. Have A Cow
Forget saving your bacon. In 2010, a 70-year-old Pakistani grandmother Zainab Bibi was protected from flash floods by her "swimming cow" Bhoori.
1,600 people are believed to have died in the flooding but Bibi survived after being carried through surging waters for hours and led to safety by her cow.
She told the local Dawn newspaper, "Bhoori came from nowhere and I clung to her neck. We floated around for many hours and it was around morning that I finally felt ground..."
6. Smokey And The Bandit
A New Jersey family left a pot on the stove after they'd gone to bed. A plastic brush, which had been sterilized in boiling water, burned - sending toxic smoke through the home. And the family's smoke detector had malfunctioned.
Luckily, a 15-pound Pomeranian Poodle mix Bandit, who belonged to a friend and was spending the night, jumped into action.
The dog started barking, which woke up the family. Homeowner Jennifer Distefani, "smelled something strange and thought, 'What the heck?'" Apparently, she couldn't see her own hand in front of her face with all the smoke.
Thankfully, everyone was able to escape. According to owner Ryan Leitz, Bandit "doesn't seem like the type of dog that would be called a hero, but I guess anything can happen."
7. Bullish Cat
A cat in Texas showed a heart bigger than the lone star state by taking on two pit bulls.
Cherry Woods claims that her cat Lima (pictured below) saved her by scratching and hissing.
Photo: via WFAA Dallas
Woods said she saw the dogs in the distance, and they charged her and knocked her down. Woods' husband tried to get them off her when Lima sprang loose.
According to Woods' husband Harold, "Our cat came out of the bushes, and scratched one of the dogs and started hissing at it. They both turned... and I was able to grab my wife and pull her inside the house,"
8. A Hare's Breadth
A Melbourne, Australia couple's rabbit named "Rabbit"" may have saved the day.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, smoke filled their house, and flames destroyed part of the roof, in a fire believed to be caused by a space heater.
Rabbit's owner Gerry Finn had just got home when he heard heavy scratching at his bedroom door.
His wife Michelle says their bunny alerted them just in time. "We were both asleep. It was very lucky..."
9. Dante's Hell
Florida resident Gudun Mastriano was walking her black Labrador, Dante, (pictured at the top) when she was attacked by a venomous cottonmouth snake.
The dog jumped in front of the snake, biting it and dragging it away. Unfortunately for Dante, the snake had sunk its fangs into him, causing his nose to swell to 17 inches.
According to Mastriano, "it could have been me. I would have died".
Dante was treated with antivenin and two months of oxygen therapy, until he was well enough to make the trip to Spain where his family had been stationed by the U.S navy.
As his container said, Fly Safe: Hero on Board.
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