Last week’s LiveWell Placements blog was about heroes — people who believe that it is better to give than to receive and are proof that helping others is the real reward. But what if we told you that not all heroes are human? For anyone that has known the love and loyalty of an animal, we’re sure that comes as no surprise. Pets are known to reduce stress and depression and keep their owners more active but we don’t often associate animals with saving our lives. Well, prepare yourself for some hero pets that are as deserving of recognition as their human counterparts. We hope that you will be so inspired by these amazing animals that you might even decide to adopt or foster a pet this holiday season!
Our first hero is a parrot named Willie. Like most parrots, Willie likes to mimic his human, and he has certain words that he likes to repeat — a lot. However, one day he added a new word to his vocabulary that actually saved a little girl’s life. Megan, who is Willie’s owner was watching her roommate’s daughter, Hannah, for the day. She had given the little girl a pop-tart and briefly left the room to use the bathroom. Suddenly, Willie started screaming from his cage, “Mama, baby” Mama, baby”. The little girl had started choking and Willie alerted Megan. She quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver, and the food dislodged from Hannah’s throat. “The minute I took charge, Willie quit squawking, as if he knew things were under control,” Megan said. “He calls me Mama, so he was clearly trying to get my attention. He’s loud and talkative, but what really amazes me is that he added the word baby on his own.” Clearly this bird has a way with words!
Pit bulls often get a bad rap, but they can be loyal and loving family dogs. One special girl actually took a bullet for her owners. During a home invasion, Lefty, as she is known by her family jumped in front of a bullet to save her owner. Although she survived the shooting, she was seriously injured and needed to have one of her leg’s amputated. The family couldn’t afford the full cost, so the vet took to social media and raised nearly 100% of the funds within days. Lefty was able to have her operation and fortunately it has not slowed her down one bit. She adjusted to having three legs almost immediately. Maybe this courageous canine’s name should be changed to “Lucky” instead of “Lefty”!
Finally, we have Fidge the cat. Wendy Humphreys is convinced that she might not be alive today if it were not for her cat. Fidge started a habit of resting her head on Wendy’s chest and she continued the behavior for two full weeks. Sensing that she was trying to tell her something, Wendy decided to go visit her doctor and found out that she had a small cancerous lump. Although it was the size of a pea when it was discovered, doctors said that it would have metastasized if it hadn’t been discovered early. It seems that Fidge is not alone and that many animals have a sixth sense for illness and can detect an ailment based on acute changes in a person’s smell. In fact, a Japanese study found that dogs were able to identify people with colorectal cancer with a 98% accuracy rate. And there is a good reason for that. While the human nose has about 5 million olfactory receptors, cats have 45 to 80 million and dogs have between 149 and 300 million receptors. Like the saying goes, “the nose knows”!
So, while not every animal may be as “heroic” as Willie, Lefty, or Midge, the happiness and joy that we get from our pets more than makes up for it. In fact, their sense of loyalty, trust, and unconditional love makes them amazing role models for humans!