Incredible True Stories of Their Hero Pets

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We’re pawsitive you’ll love these stories of courageous animals

Hero pets save the day
Having a pet certainly has its perks; the loyal friendship, the sweet snuggles, the slobbery kisses—it’s enough to make anyone’s heart swell. Sure, the cuddles and cute tricks keep us entertained, but pets also protect us from seen, and unseen, dangers. If needed, they go from our adorable best pals to hero pets in a flash.

Some pets, like Darby the pit bull, spring into action to save their owners without hesitation. And others, well … they use their keen instincts to protect the ones they love.

Our readers shared their true hero pet stories in the November 2022 issue of Reader’s Digest—and man, did these tales deliver. From a diva cow taking charge during a wildfire to a survivor cat swatting danger away, these beloved animals earned the well-deserved title of “hero pet.”

Sally saves Punsey
“One morning, my daughter’s fiancé, Jeremy, grabbed breakfast from the freezer. Soon after, our dog, Sally, came to his side, whimpering and pacing ­until he followed her to the kitchen. She pawed and yelped at the freezer door—but she wasn’t begging for food. Jeremy opened the freezer door and found our kitten, Punsey, lying cold and limp on the low metal shelf. Punsey must’ve gotten curious and snuck in while Jeremy’s back was turned. Jeremy wrapped Punsey in a thick towel and held him against his chest until he warmed up and began moving. Good thing Sally was looking out for her little buddy.”

Lulu the diva cow
“Our beloved heifer Lulu was a total diva. She was a food hog and a troublemaker, but also a great asset because she was the lead cow when the herd moved pastures. Cows like to follow a leader, and Lulu liked to lead!

“One summer, a wildfire broke out. While evacuating, we could barely see through the smoke or hear over the roar of the flames, but we knew that if Lulu could hear us, she’d come. My husband could see Lulu looking around bewildered but trying to prevent a stampede. He ventured into the smoke to get her attention. A few minutes later, Lulu and my husband emerged, leading our bull and 25 heifers to a safe pasture. If she hadn’t been there to calm and lead the others, they would’ve panicked and scattered. Our sassy little heifer kept the herd together and likely saved many of their lives.”

Hobbit the hotel cat
“I used to work the graveyard shift at a hotel, and a stray cat would wander into the lobby, watch TV and spend the night with me. Eventually, I took her home and named her Hobbit. While I was sleeping after a night shift, Hobbit yowled and nipped at me until I woke up. I smelled smoke. Firefighters pulling smoldering furniture from a downstairs apartment told me I didn’t need to evacuate; the fire was contained. But Hobbit wouldn’t settle down until the smoke cleared. From then on, I slept easy, knowing I had a friend on permanent safety patrol.”

Candy and Curly: A dynamic duo
“Our Bichon Frisés, Candy and Curly, are both rescues. We got Curly first, and he taught Candy everything: how to walk on grass, use the doggy door, interact with humans. One stormy morning, I put Curly in his ThunderShirt and then went to work. Candy bothered my husband until he came to the next room. Curly was stuck to the floor—with the Velcro from his ThunderShirt attached to the carpet! We still laugh about what Curly must’ve thought as his loving mom stepped over him. And little hero girl Candy was so excited to do something for Curly.”

Oscar and the scorpion
“The rescue folks told us that our cat Oscar’s litter had been hunted by coyotes—he was a survivor. Years later, I was in my chair and the typically laid-back (lazy) Oscar bolted for my feet. He was swatting with a speed and fierceness I’d never seen from him. Then I saw a healthy-size scorpion crawling around my feet. I guess those survival instincts are still intact.”

Mandy the lifeguard
“I have multiple sclerosis and use a wheelchair. One day, I fell into the pool, wheelchair and all. Our dog, Mandy, went berserk, barking and sprinting around the pool edge. She got the attention of my husband and a neighbor, who both rushed out. But by that time, Mandy had already leaped into the pool to try to rescue me herself.”

 

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