Five Feel-Good Stories Prove That Everyday Heroes Are Everywhere  »


Mother duck with ducklings; Credit: Mostly Dans | cc by 2.0

This feel-good message is brought to you by PETA blog writer, Chrissy Matthies

I’m the first to admit that even though PETA saves animals every day, I sometimes falter under the weight of knowing that I can’t end dog chaining, factory farming, and bullfighting right now. But then I hear that a firefighter saved a kitten’s life with a little oxygen—and, let’s face it, a whole lot of sexiness—and my faith that one person can make a difference is restored. Add a school that serves kids vegetarian lunches and a businessperson who leads a group of ducklings safely to a lake, and I feel like I’ve hit the faith-in-humanity jackpot.

Here are five other everyday heroes who made it their business to make a big difference in the lives of animals:

  • Andi Davis carried an injured 47-pound dog half a mile down a steep mountainside after spotting him during her morning hike. She rushed him to an animal hospital, where he was treated for gunshot-related injuries. Doggie Elijah has recovered nicely and now lives with Davis and her family.
  • After responding to a fire at a California apartment building, members of the Santa Monica Fire Department found an unconscious dog hidden behind a mattress in one of the units. The firefighters rushed the dog, named Stella, from the burning building and immediately began giving her oxygen using a mask specially designed for dogs and cats. Stella soon regained consciousness and was taken to an animal hospital to recover. I’m sure the firefighters got a few doggie smooches for their efforts!
  • After Cristina Fernandez spotted a Lobster Zone “game” at a restaurant, she persuaded the owner to get rid of the cruel tank, which allows customers to use a mechanical claw to terrorize and capture the lobsters they want the kitchen to boil alive. Lobster Zone tanks are hideous—the claw can injure lobsters who are already tormented by not being fed while awaiting their deaths. Christina proved that no animal is too small—or antennae-y—to fight for.
  • Ginger Frey contacted PETA after she spotted ducklings who were trapped in a storm drain in Lombard, Illinois. Although she had managed to get two of the birds out on her own, the others were too far down for her to reach, so PETA contacted the Lombard Fire Department, which came to the rescue. Firefighters were able to reach the remaining two ducklings, and all of them were taken to a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • TatorTot proves that animals can be everyday heroes, too! Christi Smith had just adopted the pit bull when he started whining and barking and running between her and her 4-year-old son, Peyton. When Smith checked on Peyton, she found that he was barely breathing, so she rushed him to the emergency room, where doctors determined that his blood sugar had dropped to dangerously low levels. Because of dogs’ keen sense of smell, TatorTot had probably detected the presence of ketones, which are associated with low blood sugar. He was rewarded with hugs from his mom and a thank-you goody basket from PETA.

TatorTot isn’t the only one to receive a PETA award! Although the aforementioned human heroes didn’t get dog biscuits, they received special recognition from PETA for donning their capes and helped animals in need.


Santa Monica Compassionate Fire Dept Award Ceremony; Credit: PETA


"Hank," the winner of the Humane Society’s 5th annual Dog of Valor competition, is a hero indeed. OK don’t cry!: When his owner was being attacked by her boyfriend wielding a hammer, Hank shielded her with his giant great dane body and probably saved her life. Hank sustained broken ribs and a fractured hip but he and his owner are now OK. In fact, they are making things better for other victims of abuse! The shelter that took in Hank’s owner, the Rose Brooks Center, just couldn’t refuse Hank after his bravery. He was the first pet they had allowed to stay there but now he has inspired them to add an addition that will accommodate people with pets who are in need of refuge! Yay Hank!

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