8 Remarkable Animals That Saved People’s Lives

Text by Bryan Nelson, MNN.com

Many people owe their lives to the tender protection and brave acts of other animals. Here’s just a small look at the stories of eight remarkable animals that have saved people’s lives.

Pig dashes into street for heart attack victim

JoAnn Altsman had a heart attack and collapsed to the ground. Lulu, her daughter’s pot-bellied pig, rushed out of the house, lying down in the street to stop traffic. The pig tried relentlessly to get help, returning to the house to check on JoAnn, only to rush back to the street desperate for help. Finally, one person stopped and followed the determined pig back to the house, where they found JoAnn in pain on the floor. She was immediately rushed to a hospital.

Photo credit: Daniel/Flickr

Goat feeds farmer milk, keeps him warm for five days

While doing his daily farm work, Farmer Noel Osborne was accidentally knocked into a pile of manure, shattering his hip. He was rendered immobile and stranded too far away for anyone to hear his calls for help. For five days, his goat Mandy huddled by his side keeping him warm, even throughout stormy, cold nights. Perhaps more remarkably, Mandy allowed Osborne to milk her for sustenance.

Photo credit: Maessive/Flickr

Beluga whale saves drowning diver

Diver Yang Yun was part of a competition to hold her breath for as long as possible in a pool of beluga whales in China. The dive was running smoothly until she tried to move her legs and they wouldn’t move. That’s when Mila, one of the beluga whales, came to her rescue. Sensing something was wrong, the whale immediately swam to the drowning diver, took Yun’s leg in her mouth and lifted her to the surface to breathe, saving her life.

Photo credit: CEN/Europics

92 stranded sailors saved by a dog named Tang

In 1919, a ship called Ethie crashed into rocks stranding 93 sailors amidst stormy seas. After one of the sailors was swept out to sea, the crew turned to Tang. With the rope in his mouth, the dog leaped into the water. When he reached land, onlookers were amazed to discover that his jaw was still fastened to the rope. All 92 of the remaining sailors were pulled to safety due to Tang’s ceaseless bravery.

Photo credit: DanDee Shots/Flickr

Horse protects owner from a raging cow

Rancher Fiona Boyd was leading a stray calf into a shed when the calf’s enraged mother suddenly charged her, knocked her down and proceeded to stampede over her. “I was absolutely terrified, and remember rolling up into a ball to protect my head from her hooves,” she recalled. That’s when Kerry, who was grazing nearby, immediately leaped to assist her. The horse bucked and kicked at the cow until it moved away, certainly saving Boyd from being trampled to death.

Photo credit: BaylorBear78/Flickr

Gorilla protects boy who falls in zoo enclosure

Here’s the remarkable story of Jambo, a silverback gorilla at the Jersey Zoo. After a young boy, Levan, fell into the gorilla’s zoo enclosure, fracturing his skull and breaking limbs, Jambo immediately came to his aid. The silverback stood firmly next to the young boy and even stroked his back in comfort, protecting the boy from danger. When Levan woke up and began to cry, Jambo lead his entire troop away so human rescuers could reach the boy.

Photo credit: A.J. Haverkamp/Flickr

Elephant saves a girl from 2004 tsunami

Amber Mason, an 8-year-old girl, was saved by a 4-year-old elephant during the 2004 Thai tsunami. Just as the wave struck, the elephant took Amber on its back and ran for higher ground. As the wave crashed around them, the elephant even turned its back to the water, creating a protective wall from the impact. “If she had been on the beach on her own or with us on the beach, she would never have lived,” Amber’s mother recalled. “The elephant took the pounding of the wave.”

Photo credit: Kudumomo/Flickr

Dolphin saves surfer from shark attack

Surfer David Rastovich describes how a dolphin saved him from a shark attack. “I was sitting in the water, when all of a sudden I saw a dolphin next to me that was behaving unusually hectic. From the top I saw how the dolphin came flying and hit a shark hard in the side. I myself hadn’t even seen the shark before,” he recalled.

Photo credit:  J.D. Emberly/Flickr

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Loesje vB
Loesje vB11 months ago

Incredible animals and amazing story.

Kathy K.
Kathy K.1 years ago

These are great stories. I wish more people would read them. Maybe then they'd realize that these "dumb" animals with no feelings are as smart and as compassionate as we'd like to be.

Laura T.
Laura T.2 years ago

wow great article. if your still interested ive seen ads in a pet mag on rats that have saved their owners, a lot of different stories

Tim C.
Tim C.2 years ago


Grace Adams
Grace Adams2 years ago

Often non-human animals are kinder to humans than humans are--either to each other or to non-human animals.

Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Rose Balcom
Rose Balcom2 years ago

For the love of animals! Look what they do for us and sadly what we coldly do to them.

Mia Reh
Mia Reh2 years ago

Amazing stories. Thanks for sharing.

Irene S.
Irene S.2 years ago

Touching stories. There are a lot of others that could be added, I guess. We should take a leaf out of their book!

Past Member
Past Member 2 years ago

Grandi storie,riflettiamo noi umani ci saremo comportati allo stesso modo? ne dubito.