by RICK MORTON
every dog is a Lassie. Not every kangaroo is a criminal detective capable of dismantling complex, lawless plots like Skippy.
But whoa up there, doubters. Animals can and do save lives. Just ask Oreo the fire-warden cat or LuLu the melodramatic, literally-stop-the-traffic
Vietnamese pot-bellied pig who drew attention to its owners heart attack.
Oh, you want more? You only had to ask.
Diver Yang Yun was attempting to hold her breath under water when her muscles stopped working and she began to sink to the bottom. Then Mila the beluga came to the rescue, picking up Yang Yun delicately in her jaws, and then hoisting her to the top of the tank for air.
David Ceci was on a boat with his father when he fell overboard. His father did not see him fall and while he remained unaware, Filippo the dolphin was nudging him back toward the boat where his father eventually noticed and hauled him aboard.
Jambo the gorilla stood between young Levan Merritt and the other gorillas when he fell into the Jersey Zoo enclosure and fractured his skull, rendering him unconscious. Jambo protected him from the other gorillas and stroked his hair to soothe him before he was rescued.
From our partner
Joe Stalnaker adopted his German shepherd, Buddy, when Buddy was an 8-week-old puppy, and he taught him to retrieve the phone when he started experiencing seizure symptoms. If Stalnaker blacks out or is unable to make the call, Buddy is trained to use his teeth to hit a speed-dial button that calls 911. In 2008, the 18-month-old dog called the emergency line, and began whimpering into the phone. Emergency responders arrived on the scene a few minutes later and found Stalnaker unconscious, but after a couple days in the hospital, he recovered.
Lima the cat is one mean kitty. When her owner Cherry Woods was set upon by two dogs in her own yard and was unable to get the dogs off her, her cat Lima jumped into the fight. He hissed and clawed and distracted the dogs long enough for Cherry and her husband to run inside. Lima escaped and helped her owner recover by her side.
Lulu saved her owner Jo Ann's life after she had a heart attack while her husband was out fishing. While the dog just barked, LuLu squeezed through a doggy door (she was lighter then), managed to open the garden gate and laid down in front of traffic. She caught the attention of a man who followed her back to the home because he thought she was in distress. He found Jo Ann and called an ambulance.
This type of rescue happens a lot: Oreo saves its owners from a house fire after his cries woke them up and they realised the downstairs of their home was on fire.
From our partner
This is GI Joe. He was awarded the Medal for Gallantry after his navigation skills saved more than 1000 lives of villagers and British troops during World War Two. The Brits had taken an Italian village but had no way to let allied bombers, scheduled to bomb the village, know. So they dispatched GI Joe with the message and he made it with minutes to spare, halting the bombing.
The creatively named Rabbit saved his Queensland family from a housefire after he thumped his feet and scratched at a closed bedroom door. The family woke up and were able to escape.
Rob Howes was swimming with a group of people off New Zealand when a pod of dolphins surrounded the group and herded them into the middle. The dolphins rounded up strays who drifted away, not letting them leave. Then Rob Howes saw why: a great white shark had appeared not more than two metres away. The dolphins splashed their tails on the water and stayed in formation for 40 minutes until the shark lost interest and left.
Roberta was home alone one night when an intruder, armed with a gun, told her to get on the ground. Then Roberta's pitbull D-Boy burst into the room and attacked the man who fired the gun, hitting D-Boy three times including twice in the head. But D-Boy continued to run after him and the intruder fled. D-Boy survived after surgery.
From our partner
Target, on the left, was a stray dog in Afghanistan where dogs are seen as pests. But some American military men took in three strays to their camp as pets. One night, the three animals foiled two suicide bombers trying to get close to the base. One detonated early after the dogs kept barking. Target was adopted by one of the army officers and taken back to America. But the story ended sadly when he escaped the yard and was collected by the pound. His owner paid the fine, but when he went to collect Target he found the pound had mistakenly put the dog down.
Do you have any stories to add to the list? How have animals helped you?