Like us, animals sometimes find themselves in perilous situations and need assistance from a human. Thankfully, there are brave people who are quick to extend a helping hand. Read on for seven heartwarming animal rescue stories from 2015.
Edward Emmerich and his Belgian Malinois, Duke, were down on their luck and homeless. For seven months, “home” for the construction worker and his dog was an encampment under a bridge in McKinney, Texas. The day after Thanksgiving, the rain swollen river quickly rose, and Emmerich was trapped by the rising water. He dialed 911; rescuers pinpointed his location using pings from his cell phone. A rescue team found Emmerich standing chest deep in floodwaters with Duke perched on his shoulders. One of the rescuers, Del Ray Pope, was lowered down to the pair and assisted them as they were pulled to safety. On dry ground, Duke and Emmerich were checked out while Pope removed his gear. What happened next shows that even dogs understand it’s important to thank their rescuer. When Pope walked back to the truck, Duke immediately recognized the firefighter and rushed to him – planting his front paws in the middle of Pope’s chest and gratefully licking his face.
Mila Rusafova was returning home after taking her cats, George and Zoe, to the vet in July. Zoe was in a carrier, but one year old George was on a leash and bolted when he was startled by an uptown E train. He panicked and leaped onto the tracks, finding refuge in a corner and becoming too scared to move. Service on the uptown and downtown trains were shut down and power to the tracks shut off because George was perilously close to the third rail. Thankfully, he was quickly rescued by two NYPD officers and returned unharmed to Rusafova as other riders cheered from the platform. You can watch a video of George’s rescue here.
In early July, Rue a Vizsla, was spooked by fireworks and found herself in trouble in the foothills of Salt Lake City where she ran to get away from the loud noises. A hiker called 911 after spotting her stuck on a ledge. Rescuers hiked two miles up the mountain to rescue the dehydrated dog with injured feet. Carried off the mountain on the shoulders of one of the rescuers, Rue thankfully had a microchip and was reunited with her owners.
In June, a Golden Retriever named Molly and her doggy pal, Lucy, were playing. The pair raced down an embankment of a flood swollen river. The younger Lucy was able to climb back up the steep slope, but 12 year old Molly, a retired therapy dog, slipped into the water and couldn’t get out. Chest deep in water, her only lifeline was a branch in the river she held on to with her front paws. When rescuers arrived, they found an exhausted Molly struggling to stay afloat. After one of her rescuers jumped into the water beside her, she collapsed into his arms as he pulled her from the river.
Tillie and Phoebe
In September, Tillie, an 11 year old Irish Setter mix, and Phoebe, a four year old Basset Hound, escaped from their home on Vashon Island, Washington. Search teams scoured the area for a week with no luck, until a man reported seeing a dog that looked like Tillie on his property. She kept showing up when he was home, barking and then racing down a ravine. Tillie was trying to get help for Phoebe who had fallen into an old concrete cistern and couldn’t climb out. Rescuers finally found Tillie lying next to the cistern guarding Phoebe, who was perched on concrete rubble to stay out of the water. The only time Tillie left Phoebe was to go to the man’s house looking for help. A month later, Tillie was honored by Washington state governor for her bravery and loyalty to Phoebe.
In June, a fawn got trapped in a storm drain. Rescuers were lowered into the drain and the fawn didn’t hesitate to leap into the arms of one of the firefighters. Back above ground, the fawn was checked out before she was released to run back to a nervous mother who was pacing in the nearby woods.
In August, a California wildfire forced the Brusatori family to evacuate their home. They quickly packed some belongings and grabbed their beloved Calico cat, Ruthie Rosemary, and put her in the car. Somehow the cat escaped from the car and took off before they could catch her. With flames dangerously close they had to flee, leaving her behind. When they returned to their home five days later, their hopes of finding Ruthie alive disappeared after seeing that their home was completely gone. But then a miracle happened. They heard a familiar meow and followed it to a charred and partially melted truck. Hiding under it was Ruthie Rosemary. She had escaped the heat and flames and survived with only some singed whiskers and eyebrows.
Read more articles by Linda Cole