✦ Let’s face it, all animals are superheroes at heart in their own unique way.
As pets, they are beloved members of the family, bringing unbounded joy and an unconditional love that can often be hard to truly quantify, while wild animals continue to attract our allure and admiration in many different ways. However, there have been countless stories over the years of pets and animals actually stepping up to the breach to perform as true superheroes when called upon. While the list is exhaustive, here we take a look at a few of them.
Starting off we don’t have to venture far as our first superhero pet belongs to none other than Brilliant Online’s own Edgard Lopez whose border collie Sherman has stepped up on more than one occasion to perform the role of superhero dog!
“We live on a farm in the Mid North Coast of NSW, off-the-grid, surrounded by rainforest, trees, mountains and lots of wildlife,” Ed tells us. “On the farm we have an abundance of animals although our farm dog Sherman is without doubt the smartest border collie you will ever meet!
“Annabelle is our youngest of four daughters and loves being around nature and the animals. She and Sherman are close and he always has her back,” Ed explains.
“One day Annabelle was feeding the chickens inside one of the many coops on the farm when suddenly a rooster attcked her from behind, pecking at her back and leaving her screaming in pain. Sherman heard her cries of anguish and came running to the rescue, managing to get under the fencing to confront the aggressive assailant before pushing him away from the stricken young girl.
“While Annabelle had endured some rather nasty cuts on her back from the attack, it wold have been far, far worse had Sherman not jumped in to rescue her,” Ed recalls.
“The second instance of Sherman coming to her rescue was when Annabelle was walking in the rainforest only to come across a red-bellied black snake on the path. Frozen by a combination of fear and an awareness to remain absolutely still, young Annabelle did not move a muscle, although she was, in effect, trapped. Cue Sherman’s entrance, who confronted the reptile by barking in order to distract it. Despite the snake becoming quite aggressive in the face of Sherman, the faithful farm dog did not step down and successfully managed to shoo the reptile into the bush, never to be seen again.”
Two incredible acts of bravery from beloved Sherman, illustrating that having a faithful farm dog is always important, no matter the size of the property, as they will always be on protective guard as true superheroes!
Dog’s best friend!
Our next superhero pet emerged from the devastation of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Sendai and the eastern Japanese seaboard in March, 2011. Amid the chaos, a two-year-old dog called Ban was swept away, believed to be lost forever. However, three weeks later a coast guard spotted the canine on the roof of a house adrift in an island of debris nearly 2-kilometres from the shore. Recognising Ban on TV news footage, her owner reached out and the two were soon reunited, with the anonymous owner declaring “we’ll never let go of her [again].” You can watch footage of Ban being rescued then reunited with her owner here.
Another heart-warming story emerged from the same disaster in Japan, proving that dogs are not just man’s best friend but can be other dog’s best friends too! Days after the devastation struck, a news crew came across a mud-caked spaniel who was protecting an injured mate, who they initially thought was dead but realised was actually still alive. The dog appeared to have remained by the side of his injured friend to protect him for days, never leaving his side and even offering touching moments of comfort by stroking his stricken friend with his paw. The loyal mate managed to attract the attention of the TV crew who then called in a rescue team. Thankfully both dogs were taken into animal care and survived. You can watch the video clip here although make sure you have tissues to hand!
Going back much further in time we have the courageous story of another superhero dog known as Togo. In 1925 the isolated Alaskan village of Nome was hit by a ravaging case of diphtheria and medicine was unable to be shipped by plane or boat. The decision was made for dog-led sleds to make the perilious journey across the frozen terrain. While the whole team played their part, Togo covered the hardest sections, including a 200-mile trek and a traverse across the hazardous Norton Sound, where the brave canine saved his team and driver in a courageous swim through ice floes. A true superhero, if ever there was one, who had a statue erected in New York in 2001 and a Disney+ film made in his honour in 2019. Read Togo’s full story here.
The story of Sergeant Billy, the Canadian goat hero of World War I is an amazing one. Billy was smuggled into France as a mascot by Canadian troops but soon proved his worth as one day he headbutted three of his comrades into a trench to avoid an exploding enemy shell, saving all of them in the process. Billy endured his fair share of injuries during the conflict, including shrapnel wounds, trench foot and shell shock and was even arrested for eating military equipment but there is no doubt he served with distinction and deserves his title of a superhero! Read Billy’s story here.
They say parents will do just about anything to protect their children and that certainly applies to our next superhero animal, Scarlett the cat. Living as a stray on the streets of Brookylyn in New York City, Scarlett had taken refuge with her four-week old kittens in an abandoned garage which, unfortunately, caught fire one day. Firefighters arriving at the scene were aghast to see the badly burned feline who had rescued her young, carrying them one-by-one from the burning wreckage and leaving none behind, despite the serious wounds she endured. The story soon made the news and over 1,000 subsequent offers to adopt brave Scarlett came in. One came to fruition and Scarlett spent the remainder of her days being pampered in a loving environment, as did her rescued kittens by all accounts. Scarlett was such a superhero that several books have been written charting her brave plight and astonishing act of love, loyalty and protection. Read her inspiring full story here.
Our final example is another superhero who was lauded for saving the lives of fellow animals. Moko the bottlenose dolphin had become a regular fixture on the beaches along the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island in the summer of 2008, playing with swimmers on a daily basis. One day, however, play turned to helping her fellow mammals when she saved two beached pygmy sperm whales, successfully communicating with and aiding them where humans could not. “I don’t speak whale and I don’t speak dolphin,” Conservation Officer Malcolm Smith told the BBC in 2008, “but there was obviously something that went on because the two whales changed their attitude from being quite distressed to following the dolphin quite willingly and directly along the beach and straight out to sea.” Read Moko’s story here.
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