These pet owners’ amazing stories prove friendship and loyalty know no bounds. Here, they share their unbelievable tales:
Halfway through my first pregnancy, I was riding Ruby along a trail in the Pennsylvania countryside, about three miles from home. We waded into a pond so she could take a drink. On the way out, she slipped, and the two of us slid backward into the water. Ruby was on her side in the water, flailing and kicking. I tried to dismount but my left foot was stuck in the stirrup. One good thrash of Ruby’s legs, I feared, would mean the end of my baby and serious injuries for me. I yelled, “Ruby, stop! I’m stuck, girl.” Instantly she froze.
I managed to pry my foot free, got up and trudged out of the pond, soaked. Only when I was safely out of the way did Ruby kick and get all of her 1,200 pounds up and out of the water. My daughter, Tessa, was born five months later. She’s six now. Ruby, 25, is protective and careful when she’s around.
— Submitted by Lise Sentell, Zelienople, Pennsylvania
Saved by the Lab
While walking Boomer, my five-year-old Lab, on a street near my home, I stumbled into a pothole and broke both my legs. Though I screamed for help, no one was around. Boomer lay right down on the road and stayed there. I knew I needed medical help, so I wrapped my arms around his neck and said, “Home.” My 160-pound Lab dragged me, stopping now and then. Finally we made it to the house. My husband found me and called 911. I had rescued Boomer from a shelter. I never dreamed he would end up rescuing me.
— Submitted by Bobbie Glover, Auburn, California
Gimpy the elephant seal pup, my constant companion at work, was a gentle giant at 150+ pounds — until the day I slipped and belly-flopped to the deck at the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur, where I was a volunteer. Dazed, I looked up and saw three aggressive seal pups moving in. I reached for my protective board. Then I saw another large mass of seal blubber rushing toward me. It was Gimpy. She became my shield. As the yelping pups got closer, she swiftly forced them away. She saved me from a mauling that day — there’s no doubt about it.
— Submitted by Hugh Ryono, Fullerton, California
Sniff and Scratch
Maggie May Longfellow, our miniature dachshund, sleeps in the top bunk with our 12-year-old daughter, Katrina. Our 16-year-old daughter, Kelli, who has Down syndrome, sleeps in the bottom. This works well for our family of seven, since our dog never disturbs anyone at night. But on February 2, 2005, at 2:30 a.m., my husband, James, and I were awakened by Maggie barking near our bed. What the heck? Then I smelled gas. In the kitchen I found a burner left on, spewing out natural gas. Gagging, I threw open the windows, remembering not to turn on lights. That could trigger an explosion. Kelli, it turns out, had lifted Maggie May out of the bed. Our dog then pawed and scratched until she opened our door. Thanks to her, there was no headline in the paper: House Explodes, Killing Family of 7.
— Submitted by Linda Clevenger, Bremen, Indiana
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An Eye on You
Cashew, my 14-year-old yellow Lab, is blind and deaf. Her best friend is Libby, 7, her seeing-eye cat. Libby steers Cashew away from obstacles and leads her to her food. Every night she sleeps next to her. The only time they’re apart is when we take Cashew out for a walk. Without this cat, we know Cashew would be lost and very, very lonely indeed. It’s amazing but true: This is one animal who knows what needs to be done and does it day in and day out for her friend. — Submitted by Terry Burns, Middleburg, Pennsylvania
In the back pasture of the refuge I operate, Lurch, my 11-month-old African Watusi calf, turned sideways and blocked my path. I couldn’t understand it. Was he being stubborn? I grasped his horns and pushed by him. As I was about to take a step, he tossed his head, throwing me off balance. A copperhead snake lay coiled right where my foot would have landed. As my dogs rushed over to check it out, the snake attacked and bit one of them. Lurch stomped on the snake until it was dead. Copperhead venom isn’t usually fatal to adults, but with me it could have been. I’m very sensitive to insect bites and had just been hospitalized for a lung condition. Lurch was only doing what he thought best. Today he’s a full-grown steer, and just as full of himself!
— Submitted by Janice Wolf, Gassville, Arkansas