Discover 7 Heroic Animals That Save Human Lives

Bottlenose dolphin smiling at the camera
iStock.com/Lefteris_

Written by Jeremiah Wright

Updated: June 5, 2023

Share on:

Advertisement


Heroic Animals That Save Human Lives infographic
Here are some likely, and not-so-likely, animal heroes.

As bizarre as it may sound, animals save human lives using their keen instincts! In this article, we will discuss some heroic animals! These furry champions are proof that not all superheroes wear capes.

This list will start with the most obvious heroes (our dogs) and end with the least expected hero. Enjoy!

7 Animals That Save Human Lives

Some animals experience a kinship with humans that prompts them to protect their human friends. This list contains true-life cases of some of those instances.

1. Dog

Scariest Dogs

The instinct of dogs to protect members of their pack remains strong.

Dogs have a pack mentality. Even though they are domesticated and integrated into human households, the instinct to protect members of their pack remains strong. Take this story from Arizona, for example.

A young woman was walking her dog when a rattlesnake instantly jumped in front of them. Her Golden Retriever protected his human owner by stepping in. The dog got bit by the rattlesnake but, thankfully, survived.

In another story, a King Shepherd earned a hero spot in Purina’s Animal Hall of Fame for fighting off coyotes to save his owner’s life after they had a car accident.

Sako bravely ensured that they were safe while they waited for rescue.

2. Cat

cat licking owner

Cats can be just as protective as dogs when looking out for their owners.

In the media, cats appear aloof and distant. In reality, cats can be just as protective as dogs when looking out for their owners. There are many true-life stories to prove this fact.

In Canada, a 17-year-old calico angora cat pounced on her sleeping owner. That jolted her awake almost immediately. Puzzled by her cat’s strange behavior, she followed the cat to the front of the house, where she discovered it was on fire.

The cat’s swift response enabled her to escape before any serious damage could happen. Because of this heroic act, Meskie (the cat) was inducted into Purina’s Animal Hall of Fame.

3. Horse

Horses are a symbol of pride, courage, and fierce determination.

In folklore, horses stand out as noble animals. They are a symbol of pride, courage, and fierce determination. But when thrust into a dangerous real-life situation, their first instinct is to run.

So it is a pleasant surprise to find situations in which horses have done the exact opposite. Instead of running away, they stepped up to save people. Indian Red is the only horse to have ever earned his way into Purina’s Animal Hall of Fame. And his deed was remarkable.

In 1978, on a cold winter night, a 77-year-old woman tripped and fell into a snow-covered ditch. Like a true gentleman, the horse stayed by her. He made a lot of fuss and drew attention to the situation until the old lady got help.

4. Pig

mini pig

Pigs are an unusual example when thinking about animals that save human lives.

Pigs are not always the first to cross our minds when thinking about animals that save human lives. But Lulu is the exception. Lulu’s owner had suffered a heart attack and subsequently lost consciousness. The loyal pig did something heroic that brought rescue.

Lulu left home and walked to the road, where she lay on the ground and pretended to be dead until a concerned motorist checked on her. She was able to lead the stranger to her owner. One 911 call later, emergency services arrived, and Lulu had successfully saved the day.

5. Dolphin

Animals That Use Sonar-dolphin

Accounts of dolphins saving humans go back to the era of the Greek empire.

Usually, our furry rescuers are companions that have become used to being around humans. That’s not the case with dolphins. However, there have been several accounts of dolphins saving humans that go back to the era of the Greek empire.

A family in Italy will forever be grateful to Filippo – the dolphin who rescued their son in 2000. The teenage boy was on a boat with his father somewhere on the Adriatic Sea when he tumbled overboard.

The boy could not swim, and his father was unaware of his son’s predicament. Thankfully, the dolphin noticed and immediately rushed to push the boy toward the boat’s edge. From there, his father grabbed his son and got him out of the water. With his rescue mission complete, the dolphin swam away.

6. Gorilla

gorilla

A gorilla has been documented protecting a child.

A family trip to the zoo became a nightmare when their young child fell into the area where a gorilla lived. The child was injured and was crying. The presence of a gorilla within the vicinity increased the level of danger the child was facing.

But this “dangerous” gorilla became the heroine. Rather than being aggressive, she followed her maternal instincts. She did her best to protect and calm the child. Eventually, rescue services were able to retrieve the child.

It was a happy ending for a situation that could have turned out tragic.

7. Pigeon

pigeon in flight

During World War I, a brave pigeon stepped up to the plate and earned the hero badge.

When you think of feathered heroes, a pigeon might not be among the first things that cross your mind. However, during World War I, a brave pigeon stepped up to the plate and earned the hero badge. Although it cost the bird an eye and a leg, Cher Ami became a legend.

Cher Ami is the world’s most famous pigeon, and his rise to this prestigious position comes with horrors that not many humans can endure. During the war, messenger pigeons were used to communicate specific details at the war front.

The group with Cher Ami was trapped and taking on both enemy and friendly fire. The only way out of there was to send a message to their troops on the other side. But every pigeon they sent out was shot down, except for Cher Ami.

Caught in the crossfire, the brave pigeon was shot and injured. Still, the bird successfully delivered the message. This singular act saved the lives of 194 men.

Summary of 7 Heroic Animals That Save Human Lives

AnimalHeroic Story
DogA young woman’s Golden Retriever protected his human owner by stepping in and getting bit by a rattlesnake that jumped in front of them.
CatA 17-year-old calico angora cat pounced on her sleeping owner, who then discovered her house was on fire.
HorseOn a cold winter night, a 77-year-old woman tripped and fell into a snow-covered ditch. Her horse stayed by her, made a lot of fuss, and drew attention to the situation until they got help.
PigA pig named Lulu’s owner had suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness. Lulu left home and walked to the road, where she laid on the ground and pretended to be dead until a concerned motorist checked on her. She then lead the stranger to her owner.
DolphinA teenage boy was on a boat with his father when he tumbled overboard. The boy could not swim, and his father was unaware of what happened. The dolphin immediately rushed to push the boy toward the boat’s edge. From there, his father grabbed his son and got him out of the water.
GorillaA young child fell into the area where a gorilla lived at a zoon. The child was injured and was crying. Rather than being aggressive, a gorilla followed her maternal instincts and did her best to protect and calm the child. Eventually, rescue services were able to retrieve the child.
PigeonDuring World War I, messenger pigeons were used to communicate specific details at the war front. In order to help its group escape a trap, pigeons were sent, though they all were shot down. Caught in the crossfire, a brave pigeon named Cher Ami was shot and injured. Still, the bird successfully delivered the message on the other side.


Share this post on:
About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.