Pit Bull Saves Woman from Knife Attack

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by Bethany Meissner

A woman was attacked on the street in Baldwin, GA the night of July 22 by a man wielding a knife. A stray pit bull lunged toward the man, separating the woman from her attacker and saving her life. Unfortunately, the dog ended up being stabbed five times by the assailant.

According to Wate.Com, Officer Timothy Clay, one of the two officers who arrived on the scene, said “I don’t think we could have let that dog suffer and die. We felt like we needed to get that dog some help after what it had been through.” Clara Welch in Tennessee thought that was “very heroic and very awesome” of the officers.

The Dodo wrote that a veterinarian reopened her clinic to care for the dog held by the officers despite the late hour. It wasn’t a guaranteed save – the dog collapsed on the table. He had lost a lot of blood. However, the officers’ heroic actions paid off and the dog’s life was saved.

Welch runs Fighting for the Bullys Pit Bull Rescue, based in Knoxville, TN. She heard about the dog’s heroic rescue on Facebook and decided to raise money to help pay for his medical costs. Just a few days after his surgery, the dog was given a new name befitting his actions – Hero.

Hero is now being cared for by Fighting for the Bullys. Welch thinks Hero hasn’t always had an easy time. “He has had a really rough life. He has had a bum back leg and a bum front leg, but he gets around fine,” she said. His bum legs certainly didn’t keep him from saving the life of that grateful woman in Georgia!

According to WBIR’s Madison Wade, Hero has received adoption applications from all over the world. His foster family with Fighting for the Bullys is hoping to find this heroic canine a forever home “as close to East Tennessee as possible.” In Welch’s words Hero is just “looking for a good friend.”

Suburban Cat Saves Family from Rabid Bat

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by Bethany Meissner

When you take your pet to get vaccinated, we hope you’re including a rabies vaccine. One family in Illinois is unlikely to ever forget that for their beloved cat, Wilson.

According to NBC Chicago, one Thursday night Juliana Cucci was woken up by Wilson causing a commotion. “He was jumping in the blinds after the bat,” she said. Wilson’s insistent jumping alerted her husband who screamed at Juliana to get Wilson and herself out of the room and to shut the door. “My husband had the light on and was swinging the pillow wildly in the air,” she said “There were things banging into walls.”

After the bat was caught and contained in a box, Juliana called Animal Control. The bat turned out to be positive for rabies. Because the family was exposed to rabies, they needed to get a series of rabies shots. However, because Wilson warned them about the bat before the couple or any of their three children showed symptoms of rabies, they were lucky.

Although it’s rare for people to die of rabies, that’s because they rarely contract it. The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health noted that “Once symptoms start, rabies is almost uniformly fatal.”

The Cucci family is grateful for their near miss. As Juliana said, “rabies…that’s a little bit scary.” About Wilson? Juliana shared that they’re thinking of changing his name, “We want to rename him Bruce Wayne, because he is our bat cat.”

This Chihuahua Went from Terrible Dog to Therapy Dog!

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by Bethany Meissner

Sometimes all anyone needs to be rehabilitated is to find the right family. For Teddy the Chihuahua, formerly known as Eddie the Terrible, the right family completely changed him. According to Maddie’s Fund, Eddie ended up at the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) less than two years ago. Although sometimes, in the words of HSSV’s Finnegan Dowling, Eddie would simply act “like he was this little doggy angel dropped down from heaven,” he wasn’t such an angel about other dogs. In fact, according to Dowling, Eddie “would just fly off the handle” about other dogs.

That didn’t keep HSSV from looking for a family for Eddie. “Eddie was an incredibly normal, smart, loving, funny, terrible dog in the way that most people’s dogs can be awful. My own included,” as Dowling said about Eddie’s behavior. Although HSSV knew that Eddie wouldn’t be the right dog for every family, they knew that he “would make someone a loving pet.”

Now he has. Eddie’s family brings him by HSSV for his shots, and the love is obvious. Actually, Eddie has made such a loving pet for his adoptive family, that he’s getting certified as a therapy dog for his dad. According to Dowling, Eddie-now-Teddy “loves his mom and dad and is a totally different dog around them.” She reminded Maddie’s fund that many “terrible” animals might not actually be all that terrible – they “just might be in a shelter and upset.”

We hope more people give upset animals like Eddie a chance so they can truly show their angelic side. Who knows if the pet you adopt might end up helping you in return!

Dog Helps Child Survive Mountain Wilderness

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by Bethany Meissner

If you were lost and disoriented in cold woods at night, you might wish for a hero to keep you warm and safe. If your wish were granted, you might get a hero half as helpful and friendly as Max, the dog who saved a lost camper in northeastern Mexico in late July.

According to The Dodo, Juan Heriberto Trevino, age 14, got separated from his camping group. While collecting wood in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, Juan fell into a ravine. Luckily Max had followed Juan from camp and went down into the ravine with him so he wouldn’t be alone.

Max, a friendly Labrador Retriever, had met Juan earlier at camp. Now, he was Juan’s only companion in dark, cold woods. The pair found shelter under a tree while Juan prayed to be found.

Mountains get chilly at night and it’s easy for lost adventurers to suffer from hypothermia. The deputy director of Civil Protection of Nuevo Leon told Mexnoticas that, due to the severe cold at night in the mountains, “The boy was lucky to find the dog.” Juan shared with Noticieros Televisa how he “hugged” Max to keep warm during the night.

Providing cuddly warmth wasn’t the only way that Max kept Juan safe. The following day, the two tried to find their way back to camp. The terrain was difficult with many cacti. When Juan began to feel thirsty, Max showed him a puddle from which they were both able to drink.

After 44 hours alone in the mountains, the two were found by a search party and their difficult adventure had a happy ending. Juan’s family wanted to adopt Max, but he already has a home with a family near the camp.

Juan told Televisa that he knew “the dog walked with me to help me survive.” Let’s hope we’re all lucky enough to have such a dog like Max walk with us when we need help.

Helpful Cats Hope To Win Top Award

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit: Cats Protection, www.cats.org.uk

Everyone knows that pets can be a great comfort to their people, but three special British cats are finalists for a top award due to their abilities to comfort and help children in their lives.

Houdini, a two-year-old gray cat with warm golden eyes is one of the finalists for the “Cat of the Year 2016” award in the “Furr-ever Friends” category at the Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards in August.

According to the Stoke Sentinel, Harri began suffering anxiety attacks after his mom, Kielo, broke her back. Kielo told Cats Protection that “the sound of his [Houdini’s] purr and the smell of his fur have a huge calming effect on Harri.” In fact, the family calls Houdini a therapy cat because of how much he helps Harri!

Before Houdini came into his life, Harri had trouble being alone, but now Houdini helps him. Kielo said that “Houdini seems to know when Harri’s had a bad day at school, or when everything is getting too much for him, and will sit with him.”

Houdini isn’t the only finalist in the Furr-ever Friends category helping a child with autism. Mr. Miffy is another finalist. He helps twelve-year-old Jessica who used to suffer meltdowns and have daily struggles. Her mom told Cats Protection that when they got Mr. Miffy “it was the turning point.” Jessica stays calmer and “believes that he truly understands her.”

The other finalist in the category is Blue. Blue lives with eight-year-old Lilly Ruskin who struggled due to her older brother Flynn’s neurological problems. Although Lilly and Flynn both love Blue, their mom, Joanna, told Cats Protection that Blue makes “things so much easier for Lilly…when things get too much for her, she will go to Blue for comfort, fun, and support.”

Regardless of whichever cat wins the award, all three families are already winners to have such fantastic felines in their homes.

Family Dog Saves Owner From Fire

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit: Robert Bova

If your home were on fire, what would you do? For Bailey, a family dog in Guilford, Connecticut, that question isn’t a hypothetical. She saved her owner’s life.

According to The Dodo, when a fire spread through her home, Bailey barked at the door of 27 year-old-Randy Bova until he opened it and saw the danger. Randy then grabbed Bailey and raced out of the house to safety.

Robert Bova, Randy’s brother, told The Dodo that he believes they would have lost Randy due to how quickly the fire spread. Randy was the only human member of the family home that afternoon. He didn’t know about the fire until he heard Bailey barking. He was cleaning his room and listening to music, completely unaware of the danger.

It was a near escape. According to Robert, “When [Randy] went out our back door, he looked at the side of the house, and the entire thing was engulfed in flames.” It’s thanks to Bailey’s barking that no lives were lost to the fire.

On the family’s GoFundMe page, Robert calls Bailey a “superhero dog.” Bailey has been with the Bova family for four years. Robert said that Bailey “means the world to us. She brought me, my brother, and my mother closer together as a family. Once we got this dog, she was the centerpiece of our family’s relationship.”

Although the fire was devastating, the family is grateful to Bailey, “a very special and bright dog,” for keeping Randy safe. Bailey and her family are mourning what was lost, but staying upbeat. Bailey has gotten used to hotel living after the fire and is cherished by her family. Randy wrote in an update, “I’ve always loved her, but now I owe my life to her as well.”

Dogs Improve Airport Security

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by Bethany Meissner

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Photo credit: Michael Wilson, TSA

The next time you’re at the airport, you might see an adorable dog keeping you safe!

This June, reporters got to meet Fable, an explosive-sniffing black Lab, at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for a demonstration. According to the Charlotte Observer, there are around 230 dogs working at 42 airports in the United States.

The dogs work in different parts of the airport, using their sensitive noses to sniff out chemicals that can be used as part of explosives. However, since April of this year, TSA has started using dogs in passenger screening lines to keep people safe even before they reach the scanners. You can see dogs like Fable at airports in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and San Juan.

Fable and her coworkers work 3-4 hour shifts, mostly during peak travel times. According to Forbes, their sniffing abilities will both improve security and speed up lines. Passengers who the dogs check will have a faster screening, similar to passengers with PreCheck. They’ll still send their bags through an x-ray, but the people can skip the body scanners and leave their shoes on.

On their website, the TSA writes that according to one canine handler, “dogs are another level of risk-based security. We can screen travelers much faster.”

Fable lives with her handler, Lisa Washington, a Marine Corps veteran and TSA explosive detection canine handler. The two met at Auborn University in 2012 when they were enrolled in a TSA training program. Forbes noted that Washington said that being a mom helped prepare her for working with Fable. When Fable “finds something in training, I hoot and holler and throw her the ball. I’m a good motivator,” says Washington.

At work, Fable wears a “Do Not Pet” sash to alert passengers that she is a working dog. During the demonstration at Charlotte, a dozen passengers walked by Fable with just a little sniffing from the eager dog. However, when a man carrying a brown bag walked by, Fable immediately got up and followed him. She jumped on his bag and found exactly where there were trace amounts of an explosive chemical.

Washington immediately dropped a red toy for Fable as her reward. The Charlotte Observer noted that Washington says Fable, “works so hard because she wants to please me and get her toy.” Forbes wrote that, in the words of her handler, Fable is “the best work partner in the world.”

Stray Kitten Steals the Show on Live Newscast

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by Caroline Golon

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Photo credit: WXYZ-TV

You never know what you’re going to see on live television, including an adorable stray kitten crashing a newscast!

According to Buzzfeed, that’s just what happened in Detroit one Monday morning when WXYZ-TV Channel 7 reporter and anchor Nima Shaffe was wrapping up a segment in front of the local sheriff’s office.

Shaffe was surprised to look down and see a tiny marmalade and white cat boldly approach him and begin meowing incessantly. “She was scurrying about underneath cars and meowing really loud,” Shaffe told Buzzfeed.

Shaffe reached down and picked up the little cat and became instantly smitten with the active roly-poly girl they named Lucky Seven. “She likes to talk,” Shaffe told Buzzfeed. “She likes to tell people her life story.”

Within minutes of the cat making her debut on live TV, she became a local social media celebrity with fans tweeting and commenting on the cute kitty.

Shaffe and his team then called the sheriff’s department to come and retrieve the sweet little stray.

Lucky Seven is now in the care of the Humane Society of Huron Valley, getting shots and ensuring she’s healthy enough to be adopted. “First she has to go to foster care to gain some weight before they can microchip her and give her some more TLC,” Shaffe explained to Buzzfeed. “So it could be anywhere from a month or two before she’s available for adoption.”

There won’t be any shortage of loving families wanting to adopt Lucky Seven. In fact, Shaffe himself might even put in an application. Lucky Seven is definitely the right name for her!