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  • Nov
  • 5

Some of My Animal Heroes

Posted by at 5:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

steve-m-and-dogsMy good friend Dr. Bob was hunting for mushrooms on the side of a hill near Ponca, Nebraska, with Opie, the black lab who is like a mother to him. Dr. Bob was 81 years old at the time, and while his mind remains sharp to this day, he suffers from Parkinson’s and other health problems. When he reached down to check out some mushrooms, Bob slipped, lost his footing, and tumbled underneath a huge fallen tree trunk. Bob’s frail body was tightly wedged lengthwise under the tree. He struggled and fought for a long time, but he couldn’t move. He tried to hit the panic button on his Lifeline remote but couldn’t reach it. Bob gave himself up for dead at that point, as the cold ground beneath him sapped his strength and he passed out. When he woke up, he found that Opie had dug a trench beneath him from the other (downhill) side of the tree, along the entire length of his body. Bob was able to roll into the ditch, under the tree, and out the other side to freedom. He says today: “I had given up-I thought I was dead. I wished I had a chain saw. But I didn’t need one, because I had Opie. She saved my life!”

Every one of you has rescued animals at one time or another, whether it’s letting a moth or a ladybug out of the house or saving animals in the wake of Katrina. I once caught my 70-pound dog Buster when he jumped off a 40 foot bridge (actually, he flattened me like a pancake-I tried to catch him). But animals often rescue us. Emotional rescue-well, that happens every day. Anyone who has animal companions gains inner peace from their presence. And physical rescues, like Opie’s saving Dr. Bob in the woods of Nebraska, are not rare either.

rachelMy late cat Rachel saved me many times, in many ways. You might argue about this, but I’m quite sure that she was the smartest cat of all time in the entire universe. She adapted to an onslaught of moves across the country and to major changes in our lives with supreme calm. Here’s one rescue. When we first moved into an apartment in Tucson, Arizona, Rachel went nuts. She kept meowing and leading me to the door. She had never acted this way in our several years together. Then she finally showed me why: We had an 8-foot-long snake as a roommate, hiding under the furnace in our living room! I did manage to liberate the snake back into his native habitat, but this happy ending was entirely because of Rachel’s presence of mind and devotion to me.

Something I often do with my dogs is let them lead me through thick vegetation off-trail or lead me in the dark during a late walk in the woods. They understand my limitations and check often to see if I’m still with them, although I’m sure that they would be appalled to know just how feeble my night vision and tracking abilities are.

I bet you’ve got some stories like this too. Let’s hear them!

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  • Phyllis says:

    I’m convinced that my Gypsy girl saved me. Gypsy was a black and white cocker spaniel who had been passed around through numerous “owners” (i refuse to call them families) in the first 4 years of her life. I met her, she was the sweetest thing – just starved for attention and love. Jerry died of AIDS just a few months after giving her to me. Once I got my arms around her, she had a real home and no power short of Heaven could have taken her from me.
    At the time, we were living in an apartment building so I took Gypsy on walks 4 times a day. On an evening walk I noticed a man following us and Gypsy and I crossed the street. The man continued to follow us, exposing himself. This was before cellphones were common but as soon as we got back home I called the police…who could do very little except tell me to alter my walking schedule. Even though I did that this sicko kept showing up. (Later we would learn that he was squatting in the vacant apartment above us so no matter when I closed my door – he heard it and could easily follow us.)
    Then one day after another scary unpleasant walk, when I thought the worst was over, we were stopped at our front door and as I was putting the key in the lock Gypsy suddenly turned into a snarling 35 pound ball of fury as she launched herself as far as the leash would let her at the man who was crouched down behind a bush right beside the door. I had not even seen him but Gypsy did and Gypsy took action. He bolted and ran away. but if Gypsy hadn’t protected me…but she did, she did.

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  • Amanda says:

    My little Louie not only tracks lost companion animals, she’s also rescued adolescent birds and squirrels from the clutches of free-roaming cats and then watches over them until I can get them the help they need.
    Every now and then, at night, she might startle an opossum in the yard, causing it to pass out. She then gets so worried about them that I have to carry her back inside so the poor little guys can wake up!

  • cindy h says:

    I love hearing these amazing stories with animals. I had 2 rescue cats and along came a beautiful pregnant momma who I was able to get inside my house – an now I have 8 cats – I was planning on fostering some of them until good homes could be found – but I know in my heart they will all stay with me (i never thought i would have 8 cats) – but they bring me joy, make me laugh, relieve so much stress. Love to all animal people

  • Several years ago we had a beautiful and very intelligent German Shepard. One day I was in the livingroom talking with a friend of ours. The dog came in and danced around in front of me giving out sort of a “yipe”. He did this twice and then each time ran out and into another room. I just said: “What’s wrong with you?” and continued talking with our friend. The third time the dog came back in front of me, he had something in his mouth which he deposted on the flood in front of me–covered in saliva from being carried in his mouth. It was one of the nearly newborn baby kittens who had been in a box in the diningroom. It was crying. I went to replace the baby back into the box and found it completely empty. Then I heard the other babies down in the familyroom–two rooms away. It seems that their mother had moved them but forgot one–well, I guess they can’t count. The one little baby who was left all alone was probably scared, cold, and hungry. He was crying and the dog heard him and saw that he was all alone. He tried to tell me, but couldn’t get me to follow him to see the baby. So, he brought the baby to me. Saliva was dripping from his mouth because he was trying so hard to hold the baby so tenderly. I replaced the lone baby with his Mommy and siblings. He nestled up for his lunch, and all was well.

    The dog knew that something was wrong. The baby was alone and crying. He tried to do what he could and finally just picked up the baby and brought him to me since I wouldn’t go to him after two tries. I praised the dog and told him what a good boy he was. He was so sweet and caring. I still love and miss him to this day.

    Mary-Kay Bono, SFC, NJARNG

  • cat_mom says:

    This isn’t a people rescue, but s dog rescue story. Years ago we had a big black and white tomcat, named Sylvester (Buster) who did not like dogs of any shape or size. And especially on his property. Well, one day as we stood watching out the door, a very huge black dog that looked like a bear had a very small dog in it’s jaws and was just shaking the life out of him. Poor little dog was just screaming for all he was worth. As we watched in astonishment, out Sylvester ran to the end of the driveway and faced off this huge dog as if to tell him to “drop it”! He did. The little dog ran off, without, even a thank you. The big dog headed a different direction watching our cat very warily. It was just too funny to see. Then Sylvester just waited a few minutes to make sure he didn’t come back and walked back to us as if to say “that’s that! and don’t come back!
    THat was one lucky little dog that day.”

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