Animal gratitude: 550-lb. lion hugs woman who rescued him

The saying “no good deed goes unpunished” applies only to humans, but not to animals who never forget a kindness and repay it with gratitude.

Gary Sledge reports for Reader’s Digest that in 1999, Ana Julia Torres rescued a severely malnourished cub, Jupiter, from a traveling circus in Colombia.

She brought the cub to Villa Lorena, a wildlife animal rescue and sanctuary she established in 1984 in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city.

She said that when Jupiter first came to the shelter, “I would enter his cage and hold him like a baby while I gave him his medicine. That is how our relationship started.”

12 years later, now weighing 550 pounds with a luxuriant mane and paws the size of dinner plates, Jupiter greets Torres by rising on his hind legs to 6½ feet and wrapping his huge forelegs around her in a gentle embrace while Torres plants a big kiss on his muzzle.

Torres says: “Jupiter’s hug is the most loving and sincere I’ve ever received in my life. I can see the shine in his eyes. I think of it as his way of telling me thank you.”

See also these other cases of animal gratitude:


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LolaDeplorable PatriotTrailDustCalGirlDCG Recent comment authors
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I LOVE the lion hug! As for my rescue cats, they thank me by being my masters… 😉 Seriously, they’re both loving, appreciative cats. I rescued a tabby street cat from Peru; I rescued another one, a sweet, special needs calico, from the NYC ACC shelter. While they place over 90% of them, when you’re taking in over 2,000 animals per month, even 5% means that 100 will get the needle. Since the calico was a senior, I was worried she’d get the needle. I rescued her. When I saw Mitten’s pic on the shelter website, my heart broke! She… Read more »


So sweet!


Blessings to all loving people who extend themselves and their homes to animals in need, and I have a special heart for our dog and cat friends and their rescuers. Kudos and keep on keeping on…..

Deplorable Patriot





This story makes me remember a philosophy professor I had in college who said animals do not have souls. Well, that educated fool is proven wrong everyday, a million times over.