Amazing pets that literally saved their owners' lives

For as long as I can recall I've always felt a little bit safer having a pet in the house. Even though I knew my dog Tucker would sell us out to a stranger for a crumb, I felt that his big lumpy presence would be enough to scare an intruder away anyway. I always wondered if he would be capable of being a rescue dog, but luckily we didn't have many scenarios to test the theory out.

For some pet owners, however, their loyal companions are responsible for much more than being an intimidating presence. These pet owners have companions so loyal and determined that they are attributed with saving their owners' lives in the most dire of situations. Take a look at some of these fluffy, furry, and flighty animal heroes that went to great lengths to help save their owners in need.

Tara the cat swipes dog attack away

Four-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo was enjoying a sunny California afternoon riding his bicycle in his driveway when, out of nowhere, a dog from the neighborhood came after him. The dog had quite a hold on the boy's leg and dragged him for a short distance for only moments before the family cat Tara came to the rescue, fast and fierce.

Tara bolted out the front door and swiped at the dog several times before chasing it away. The altercation was captured on the family's outdoor security cameras, the video went viral and showed that pet cats can make good guard dogs too. Many people agreed, including the Los Angeles SPCA who awarded Tara with their 33rd Annual Hero Dog Award for her great act of heroism.

Wunsy the parrot squawks off attacker

Rachel Mancino was taking her pet African Grey parrot, Wunsy, out for exercise in Sunny Hill Park in north London when Wunsy managed to scare off an attacker. When Mancino was nearing the end of the park a man came up from behind her, grabbed her by the neck, and pushed her to the ground.

She told BBC that she initially thought the person was trying to steal Wunsy as he was sitting on her shoulder, but her trusty bird spooked off the attacker by flapping its wings and squawking loudly, which caused the man to flee the scene.

LuLu the pot-bellied pig plays dead

In the summer of 1998, the world was introduced to LuLu the pot-bellied big who squeezed through a doggy door to get help for her owner, Jo Ann Altsman. Altsman was home alone while her husband was away fishing when she was hit with her second heart attack in less than two years. Realizing she was in trouble, Altsman tried to alert neighbors by throwing an alarm clock out the window. While her dog Bear began barking, none of the neighbors noticed the commotion.

Her pet pig LuLu then sprang into action, somehow squeezing through the doggy door and opening the gate. She then lay down in traffic until one man stopped and followed her back to the trailer. He called inside the door to inform Altsman that LuLu was in distress and Altsman replied that she was in distress too. The man quickly called in the paramedics.

Altsman was immediately flown to the hospital for open-heart surgery and was told that she wouldn't have made it if 15 more minutes had passed. After LuLu's act of heroism, she was thrust into celebrity status, appearing in magazines, books, and on talk shows until she passed away, ironically, of a suspected heart attack in 2003.

Dory the rabbit senses a low

Dory the pet rabbit sensed one evening that her diabetic owner Simon Steggall's blood sugar levels were strikingly low. His wife Victoria, who works for an ambulance service, simply thought that her husband had dozed off watching television, but Dory knew something was wrong.

Dory — who the Steggalls had only owned for three months at the time — sprang into action, jumping on Simon's lap and thumping on his chest furiously. The rabbit's odd behavior caught the eye of Victoria and when she couldn't get Simon to respond she called in the paramedics for more help.

For her great work in saving Simon's life, Dory was made an honorary animal member of the Rabbit Welfare Association.

Kerry Gold the horse fights a cow

One summer, dairy farmer Fiona Boyd set out to move some cattle around her farm, something that is typically very routine. As she moved along with a young calf, several other cows gathered around and became agitated. The calf became confused and cried out. The cries drove the calf's three-year-old mother into a panic — she immediately went into protection mode, butting Boyd's shoulder and knocking her to the ground.

The angry cow began to straddle Boyd and kept knocking her to the ground with its head. Boyd feared being killed, with no one around to hear her screams when suddenly her pet horse came galloping to her rescue. The horse, named Kerry Gold, began kicking the cow away with her back hooves until Boyd was able to crawl away to safety.

Boyd said that after the incident, despite being sore and bruised, she had no lasting injuries. Kerry Gold was rewarded with plenty of extra carrots and apples, but the protective streak didn't end there. "She continued to protect me, and anyone else who entered her field, by walking along beside them like a bodyguard," Boyd said.

Naida the dog shows them the way

In a remote part of Siberia, three-year-old Karina Chikitova wandered away from home with her pet dog Naida, following her father who was journeying to his native village. Her mother and grandmother believed Karina had gone with her father, but four days later they discovered she went after him instead of with him and immediately launched a search to find her.

For nine days there was no sign of them, until Naida the dog appeared home. This increased everyone's fears for Chikitova's well-being as she was now alone in a territory roamed by wild bears, wolves, and cold nights. However, Naida only came home to show them the way to the little girl who had made herself a bed in the grasses and survived by eating berries, drinking water from the rivers, and of course trusting her fluffy hero.

Dylan the cockatiel sounds the alarm

Indiana resident Andrew Hardiek was sleeping after one of his shifts when his mobile home caught fire, apparently from heat tape the previous owners had wrapped around the pipes underneath his home.

Hardiek credits his life to Dylan, his seven-year-old pet cockatiel, that woke him up from his sleep. Dylan was squawking furiously to get out of his cage, which alerted Hardiek to the imminent danger he was in. Unfortunately, Hardiek ended up losing his home and possessions, but is simply thankful to Dylan and to be alive.

Slinky Malinki the cat taps the neighbors

Former nurse Janet Rawlinson was taking morphine for her chronic back pain when she suffered a bad reaction to the medication and was left drifting in and out of consciousness for five days. Unable to move, her pet cat Slinky Malinki — who is normally quite timid — came to her rescue by heading outside to tap relentlessly on the window of her next door neighbors.

Slinky caught the neighbors' attention with his overall odd behavior and by tormenting their dog, so they went next door and found Rawlinson in her almost comatose state and called for help. Since the incident Rawlinson says that Slinky keeps a closer eye on her. His heroic tapping even earned him a nomination for a hero award at the Cats Protection's National Cat Awards in London.

Kelsey the golden retriever keeps owner alive

On New Year's Eve, Bob was home alone watching football and waiting for the celebratory, late-night TV programming at his Michigan home. Around 10:30 p.m. he stepped outside to grab a log of wood for the fire. A simple chore turned into a nightmare when Bob slipped and broke his neck. His neighbors were too far to hear his calls and after 20 hours of shouting and lying paralyzed in the snow, he lost his voice.

Bob's loyal companion Kelsey the golden retriever stayed with him the entire time, keeping him warm and alert by climbing on top of him and licking his face. She also began barking and howling relentlessly until finally a neighbor came by and found them to call for help.

"I was surprised to find out that I didn't have any frost bite," Bob said in the hospital press release. "I am sure it was because of Kelsey's determination to keep me warm and safe."

Jedi the dog saves young master Luke

When Luke Nuttall was two years old, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Around the same time his family adopted a pet — Jedi the puppy — and began training him to sniff out Nuttall's high and low blood sugars based on changes in the chemical composition of his blood.

One night while everyone was sound asleep Nuttall's blood sugar level began to drop. His mother Dorrie was woken up by Jedi jumping on and off of her and then bowing, which is his signal to alert the family to a low blood sugar. The glucose monitor was showing that his blood sugar levels were steady, but Jedi refused to budge. When Dorrie followed Jedi to Nuttall and tested his blood she realized how low it really was — dropping out of a safe range.

Most times the Nuttall family catches his changing levels by his glucose monitor, but it's not always accurate. In fact, sometimes Jedi is up to ten minutes faster than Nuttall's monitor in noticing the changes in levels and, like that one night, can be vital to saving him from a potentially dangerous situation.