Over the past decade people have grown to really love and care for their pets unlike any other time in history. Many pet owners view their four-legged furry friends as more than mere animals, with many considered family members and close companions.
Sometimes in return animals become so loyal to their human friends that they will go to extraordinary lengths to keep them safe.
So when four-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo was being attacked by a neighbourhood dog in Bakersfield, California, in May it was his heroic cat Tara that came to the rescue — rushing out of nowhere and attacking the labrador/chow mix until his mother pulled him to safety, with the drama caught on CCTV, below.
Here are 10 other amazing stories about hero pets saving their owners.
10 Lucky the pig
Pet pig Lucky saved the life of his owner Ina Farler and her two grandchildren after a fire tore through her home in the middle of the night.
Ina was fast asleep when the blaze started but Lucky ran to her bedside and began forcefully waking her up by bashing her with his nose and making grunting noises.
Thanks to the pig’s quick thinking, Farler was able to get out the house before going back in to save the two children with the help of a neighbor in Mount Carmel, Illinois.
9 Belle the beagle
Kevin Weaver was saved by his dog Belle when she rang 911 using his cell phone as he suffered a diabetic seizure.
The beagle dialled the number by using her teeth to bite down on the keypad, which she had been trained to do in an emergency.
Belle, who lived with Weaver in Ocoee, Florida, was given the VITA’s Wireless Samaritan Award for her actions in 2006. She was the first dog to receive this honor.
8 Pearly the parrot
Niesel realized something was wrong from the bird’s unusual behavior, and was able to get out of the house with Dave and her children thanks to Pearly’s efforts.
7 Baby the cat
Joshua Ornberg and his pregnant girlfriend Letitia Kovalovsky were saved by their timid pet cat Baby after their home in Wonder Lake, Chicago, caught fire in January 2010.
The pair were sound asleep on their couch when they were woken by Baby who had sensed something was wrong. They weren’t able to extinguish the fire but managed to flee to safety with both Baby and their pet dog.
6 Shana the German Shepherd/wolf mix
Shana, a German Shepherd and wolf mix, saved her elderly owners Eve and Norman Fertig during a flash snowstorm in Alden, NY, in October 2006.
The couple ran the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary and were out working when the storm came and knocked over trees, preventing them from getting to shelter.
But Shana, who was with them, instinctively knew which way to tunnel under the large trees and created a shaft for the couple to crawl through in order to reach safety.
5 Toquinho the mongrel
Daniel Martins was saved by his pet dog Toquinho when he was attacked by a rattlesnake — after the mutt jumped in and shielded him from the snake.
The snake had managed to get into Daniel’s room in Goiania, Brazil, while he was using his computer, but Toquinho instinctively jumped in and took on the snake — which sank its fangs into the dog as a result.
Martins’ aunt, who had heard the commotion, rushed in and managed to kill the snake. Toquinho was treated by a local veterinarian and made a full recovery from the snake bite.
4 King the Pomeranian
The blaze was started by a candle that remained lit while Mariluch slept. King, a Pomeranian, then nudged Mariluch until she came out her slumber, saving her life — although she was not able to save her shop.
3 Hunter the homeless husky mix
An adopted homeless dog called Hunter saved his new family from being poisoned by gas in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods.
The hero pooch, a three-year-old husky mix, knew something was wrong and refused to stop annoying his owner Jill McLarty until she followed him to see what he was fussing about.
Hunter led McLarty to an unlit burner that had been left on for many hours — which could have caused a massive explosion if exposed to a spark.
2 Kaze the rescue dog
A rescue dog called Kaze saved a woman’s life after finding her near death in a coma under a bridge after she overdosed on drugs.
The woman, who was not identified but was in her 20s, had been missing when the dog stumbled across her and led police officers to the scene.
Kaze, an Alaskan Malamute who had been set to be put down before being adopted and turned into a rescue dog, became a big hero in Contra Costa, California.
1 Malaki the boxer/labrador
A dog called Malaki stopped a family from burning to death in Cincinnati after waking up owner John Abney when their house caught fire.
Abney realised the house was alight and got his wife and two other dogs out. He had to leave behind two puppies — but Malaki, a boxer/labrador mix, was such a hero that he went back into the inferno and saved the pups too.