9 Animal Rescues from 2014 That Will Put a Smile On Your Face

Animal rescue is always a cause for celebration, and this year there has been no shortage of incredible rescue stories where people have gone above and beyond to help those most in need.

To help put a smile on your face as you welcome in the New Year, we’re sharing some of the most inspiring animal rescue stories of 2014:

1. The Pig On Wheels

Leon Trotsky

Image credit: Edgar’s Mission

Trotting into the hearts of people all over the world is Leon Trotsky, is one resilient little pig. After an accident that caused his injury and claimed the lives of his two siblings, which saved him from ending up on someone’s dinner plate, he found his way to Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary where he got his very own wheelchair.

2. Zeus the Starry Eyed Owl


Image credit: Wildlife Learning Center

Found lying motionless and emancipated on someone’s front porch after flying head first into a wall, rescuers soon realized that the cause of this owl’s accident was blindness. Named Zeus (the god of the sky) due to his mesmerizing starry eyes, he is now cared for at the Wildlife Learning Center as he was unable to be released back into the wild as he would not be able to survive on his own.

3. Elephant Raju Rescued After 50 Years in Chains


Image credit: Wildlife SOS

Chained for 24 hours a day for more than 50 years, when Raju the elephant realized that his life of captivity was about to be over, he cried tears of joy. Saved in a courageous midnight rescue operation by Wildlife SOS, Raju was driven 350 miles to a sanctuary at the charity’s Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura.

4. Drowning Horse Rescued From River

RSPCA rescue horse

Image credit: RSPCA

Spotting a speckled grey mare up to her chin in water and on the verge of drowning, a passerby called the RSPCA, who along with local fire department, rescued the horse just in the nick of time. Using a crane to carefully life the exhausted animal safely to shore, the horse thankfully made it back home where she was able to recover in the comfort of her own stable.

5. Giant Manta Ray Freed from Fishing Line

manta ray

Image credit: Thomaz Monteiro

When a giant manta ray tangled in fishing line crossed paths with a group of divers exploring the shores of Costa Rica, rather than diverting course, the magnificent creature approached the divers asking for help. Coming close enough for them to unwrap the thick line from her body, the manta ray lingered for 30 minutes before swimming off.

6. 314 Hens Rescued from Slaughter-Bound Truck

rescued battery hens

Image credit: Leon Vegano Animal Sanctuary

When a truck headed to the slaughterhouse overturned, 314 battery hens had a lucky escape. Given a forever home by 7 different animal sanctuaries across Spain, the debilitated hens have tasted freedom for the first time in their lives after living in tiny, cramped cages for almost two years.

7. Miniature Goat Beaten by Children Finds Sanctuary

Juan Carlos the goat

Image credit: Gaia Sanctuary

After receiving a desperate call from a local shop owner about an abandoned goat that was being beaten and choked to death by a group of children, Gaia Sanctuary came to the rescue and brought this little fellow to safety. Now at the sanctuary, Juan Carlos is still extremely terrified of humans, but his wounds are slowly starting to heal and he is learning how to love again.

8. Stray Dog Follows Hikers 430 Miles, Then Gets Adopted


Image credit: Team Peak Performance

When a stray dog joined a group of hikers on a grueling endurance race across Ecuador, little did they know that he would stay with them until the end, and become part of their family forever. Arthur the dog started following them after the team gave him a treat when he appeared looking in pretty bad shape. After walking the entire journey by their side, the team couldn’t bear the thought of sending him back to a life on the streets and took him home instead.

9. 1 Day Old Calf Saved by Kind-Hearted Vet

Luna the calf

Image credit: Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary

Chained at the neck and awaiting her fate, Luna the calf got lucky when the vet who was asked to put her to sleep said no and took her to a sanctuary instead. Luna wasn’t wanted by her owners because her mum had an illness which had likely passed to her at birth, but she was still perfectly healthy and able to live a long and happy life, which she is now enjoying at Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Sally H.
Sally H3 years ago

Totally heartwarming and what wonderful people.

Catherine Robinson
Cat Robinson3 years ago

Wonderful Rescues of wonderful animals by wonderful people !! Thank you to all who saved/helped an animal live ! What a beautiful feeling !!

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Great people, great causes, true compassion and kindness. Be a blessing to someone or get out of the way.

Barbara B.
Mrs B3 years ago

Kudos to all the rescuers of 2014, may you all inspire more rescues in 2015!!!!!
A follow up story on Juan Carlos and Luna would be great.

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik3 years ago

Thank You for sharing:) Very heartwarming

Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

Wonderful rescues by wonderful people! I'm thankful for those who care about animals.

Sheri D.
Sheri D3 years ago

Thanks for the great stories.