Here are five cases of animals, including wild creatures — a potbellied pig, a Labrador Retriever, a pitbull, a gorilla, and a group of lions — who saved humans’ lives.
(1) Lulu, the Potbellied Pig
The mom of Lulu’s owner, JoAnn Altsman, collapsed onto the ground from a heart attack. So Lulu risked her own life by going out on the road to summon help. Lulu would lay down in front of oncoming cars. When cars won’t stop, Lulu returned to check on Altsman. The pig did that for 45 minutes until a motorist finally stopped to check on the pig. Lulu led the motorist back home to Altsman. The motorist then called paramedics, and Altsman was taken to the hospital.
Lulu was recognized for her heroism with a medal and a big jelly donut.
(2) Penny, the Labrador Retriever
Penny was walking along the river with her owner, Brenda Owens, when they saw an empty wheelchair along the river bank and an unresponsive woman floating in the river. Brenda told Penny, “Fetch! Fetch!”, and Penny immediately jumped into the fast flowing river and pulled out the unconscious woman. Brenda administered CPR to revive the woman, and called for help. The woman was taken to ER.
(3) Angel, the Homeless Pitbull
In Port Charlotte, UK, Angela was leaving a playground with her toddler son, when they were accosted in the parking lot by a man with a knife. A stray pitbull charged at the man, growling and baring his teeth. The man fled.
The dog was taken to an animal shelter. If the owner did not come to claim the dog, Angela would adopt the pitbull, whom she named Angel.
(4) Gorilla of Brookfield Zoo
On August 16, 1996, in Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, 3-year-old fell into the gorilla compound and lost consciousness. That attracted the attention of the gorillas. An 8-year-old female gorilla gently cuddled the boy in her arms to protect him from the other gorillas. She carried the boy 60 feet to the enclosure’s entrance, where zoo workers retrieved the boy. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he recovered fully.
(5) Lions of Ethiopia
In southwest Ethiopia, on her way home from school, a 12-year-old girl was snatched by four men. As the men were pursued by police, they came across a group of lions. The lions chased away the men, stayed with the girl without harming her, until police arrived. A wildlife expert maintained that the lions protected the girl because her cries sounded like the mewing of a lion cub.
Lulu the potbellied pig, Penny the Labrador Retriever, Angel the homeless pitbull, the Brookfield gorilla, and the Ethiopian lions demonstrate that animals:
- Possess and exercise free will.
- Have empathy for others.
- Display a highest form of morality — that of altruism — by acting selflessly for the good of another.
They put some humans to shame.
For more examples of animal heroism, empathy and altruism, see:
- Monkey revives electrocuted friend
- Animal altruism: Turtle lends a helping hand to another
- Mother goose asks police officer to rescue her baby
- Grateful crows bring gifts to girl who feeds them
- Mommy rat saves her baby from snake
- Hero mommy rabbit saves babies from snake
- Brave cat protects baby from man’s attacks
- Dog saves her injured human from freezing to death
- Brave dog stays with injured mate on railway for 2 days
- Homeless dog saves newborn baby from garbage dump
- Dog found help for friend stuck for a week in a ravine
- Homeless dog rescues woman from car wreck
UPDATE (March 10, 2017):
I did a net search for “Lulu the potbellied pig” and am happy to verify her story.
Lulu’s heroism took place in 1998 in Beaver Falls, PA. She achieved worldwide fame, reported by New York Times and USA Today, and appeared on Good Morning America, 20-20, National Geographic, and foreign TV. The ASPCA awarded her a Tiffany gold hero’s medal.
Click here for a post-gazette.com article on Lulu!