Whether they help us through an emotionally difficult time or physically rescue us, pets can be not only our best friends, but lifesavers, too.
If your pet has an amazing story, email it, along with a photo of you and your pet, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your pet could be featured in a future issue of RD or on rd.com. (By submitting you agree that materials can be edited and published in all media without restrictions.)
Cat Thwarts a Cat Burglar
I was up late (1:00 a.m.) and decided to cover my geraniums, since a hard frost was predicted for that night. When I came in, I didn’t lock the door (big mistake). A few minutes later I thought I maybe heard something outside, but didn’t think much of it. Frankie Joe, my cat, came running over to me, and looked up at me. He was running in place as he nervously looked back and forth between me and the back storm door.
“What is it Frankie Joe? What’s wrong?” I asked him. I ran to look out the back door. When I got there, a man with a stocking cap pulled down low was right at my back step. Once he saw me, he took off running. There is no doubt in my mind that given a minute more, that man would have entered my home. Frankie Joe saved my life and ever since that day, his official name became Frankie Joe, the Hero Cat.
–Submitted by Sandi Arnold, Normal, Illinois
A True Treasure
My horse, Treasure, is my hero because she helped me discover how to relate to her. In the process, she “fixed” my relationship with my husband and my children.
I have had horses all my life. I was very good at manipulating them, with ropes, bits, bats and spurs, and making them do what I wanted. Everyone knows you have to show the horse who is boss.
Well, I was also a lot like this in my personal life, very demanding, very authoritarian, very one-sided.
When I got this mare, she was a fiery 2-year-old, with no handling. She was not going to accept any type of dictatorship from me. In the interest of not getting myself killed, I started to read and educate myself on ways to manage a high-spirited horse. I had a lifetime of experience: I had been raising and breaking horses since I was a teen, and I had never encountered another creature who would not bend to my will.
I discovered natural horsemanship, a method of training that focuses on communication. In order to communicate with another person, you must be understood. The very definition of understanding is two or more individuals sharing the same idea. This simple definition had a big impact on me. I realized (suddenly, after twenty years) that communication is a two-way street!
When I started applying natural horsemanship concepts to my life, I noticed a change in the way other people related to me. My husband, when I stopped ordering him around, became happier and more helpful. My children, when I practiced being fair, firm and most of all, consistent, were motivated to respond sooner, at the polite request from me rather than the orders I used to issue.
I think the most valuable life skill I learned from my horse is that pressure motivates, but release teaches. As soon as I incorporated these basic skills into my daily activities, I started to notice positive changes. My children were more considerate of each other, and stared to ask first, without telling. I became acutely aware of my position as role model.
My extreme mare was not hard to catch, she would stand grooming and saddling without being tied and she was much safer to have around my children. This positive effect snowballed on a daily basis. Today, five years later, I have the perfect horse. I also have very polite, considerate kids and a very happy husband. There is nothing in the world that can compare to being adored by the ones you love most — even if it all started with the attitude of a very special horse.
–Submitted by Nancy Faulconer, Naples, Florida