Though places like Vancouver are encouraging shelter rescues by banning the sale of puppy mill animals, many others have a long way to go. If an animal isn’t cute, chances are it’s not leaving its cage. Because of this, cat trainer Samantha Martin and her acrobatic felines are giving strays a second chance at life.
The Amazing Acro-Cats [are] a traveling troupe of house cats that ride skateboards, play musical instruments and sometimes get bored and wander off into the audience.
“The team [of cats] themselves are all former rescues and strays,”
Martin, who is an experienced feline foster mom, has no problem draining shelters of its resident kittens. Since starting the group, Martin has been savior to over 200 cats.
“We try to partner with a local rescue and donate a portion of the [show’s] proceeds,” she said. “Sometimes people just contact us. It can be very random.”
Martin often takes in kittens with behavioral problems, proving that aggression can, in fact, be trained away. However, she focuses only on positive reinforcement. If you’re lucky enough to see the Acro-Cats in action, perhaps consider taking a non-permanent purr-former home.
Some people may have big shoes to fill, but never leave out the chance to do good. In a courageous attempt to save endangered penguins, the Chilean government snubbed a billion-dollar mining project. On the other side of the world, policewoman Gretchen Byrne is transforming the Boca Raton station into an awesome kitten shelter.
“I will get three breaks: A 40-minute lunch break and two 10-minute breaks. Instead of going for pizza with my colleagues I use that time to run to the station and feed them,” she explained. “It all comes out of my paycheck at the end of the day but I don’t have kids so it is probably still cheaper than having kids.”
In just two years, Byrne has rescued 63 cats, knowing shelters would be too full to take them in. She uses Instagram as a platform to advertise her precious adoptables. Though her four-legged tenants can be rambunctious, Byrne claims they also help her to relax.
“The other thing is that is really nice to come home and have kittens to help me destress. I’m dealing with a lot of stuff on road patrol.”
If there is one thing we’re sure of, it’s that Byrne takes the notion of cat lady to a whole new level!
Dogs have been known to help people and fellow animals alike. From planting trees to assisting baby cheetahs, we can rest assured that they care about the world. After Hurricane Harvey, there is a particularly fascinating story involving our furry friends that caught my attention. Some surfing dogs are looking out for their own, raising funds for orphan pets.
The 12th annual surf competition for dogs raised $80,000 to help orphan pets at the Rancho Santa Fe-based Helen Woodward Animal Center, including more than 60 rescued dogs and cats from Hurricane Harvey.
The Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon lasted 6 hours and attracted over 5,000 guests. Dogs, separated into weight classes, surfed in 10-minute heats. To be honest, I’m not sure what I am more impressed with — the funds raised, the cause that the funds are supporting, or the fact that these dogs are practically amazing athletes.
The canine surf fest also included a costume contest for pooches to show off beach wear and freestyle surf competition, where points were awarded for creativity.
I am bummed to have missed such a lighthearted event. But more than that, I am also proud that our two-legged friends have been participating in relief efforts — and doing fantastic jobs at it! Truly, anything is paw-sible.
We all know dogs are capable of achieving amazing feats — that is just completely irrefutable. They rescue their owners from gas leaks, help calm veterans with PTSD, plant trees to restore burnt forests, track survivors of an earthquake, and even comfort anxious cheetahs.
Dogs do these awe-inspiring acts, sometimes in spite of their own disability. A partially blind and deaf dog recently became an honorary member of the police as he rescued a three-year-old girl who was lost in the Australian bush in Queensland.
Seventeen-year-old blue heeler Max stayed with the girl, named locally as Aurora, overnight and then helped lead her grandmother directly to her location after a huge search and rescue operation . . . Aurora wandered off alone on Friday afternoon and was found safe in bushland 2 kilometres from her house at around 7.30am local time on Saturday, according to ABC News.
100 volunteers were involved in the emergency search, but it was the deaf dog that eventually led to Aurora after camping with her the whole night. Queensland Police showered Max, the deaf dog, with praises and tweeted that he is now an honorary member of the police force.
[Aurora’s grandmother Leisa Marie Bennett] told ABC News: “I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were. It could have gone any of 100 ways, but she’s here, she’s alive, she’s well and it’s a great outcome for our family.”
I swear, dogs just never run out of life-saving surprises for their human friends. And for rescuing a 3-year-old girl, Max truly deserves his yummy one-of-a-kind treat from the Queensland police.
We have seen a dog protect his human family from a house fire. We have seen a 77-year-old man refuse to evacuate so he could save animals from a wildfire. Today’s hero is a 58-year-old Indian woman who saved 20 people from a factory fire, which was happening beside her apartment in Delhi.
In a swift course of action, Jyoti Verma threw one end of her sari to the employees in a higher floor of the neighboring building so they could climb down to her terrace. However, one worker jumped the distance and Verma had to find another way.
Not wanting anyone else to injure themselves by jumping, Verma rushed inside to find something more useful. In the midst of her apartment, she found a small bamboo ladder. With the help of a neighbor, Verma propped up the ladder onto the roof of her terrace so that it stretched across to the factory window. Over the course of the next half hour, twenty workers were able to crawl to safety.
In the reports, before the ensuing hullabaloo, Verma was making breakfast in her apartment at 6:30 a.m. Her neighbor suddenly called her attention to the burning factory and so she rushed to her window, saw the people crying for help in the third floor of the neighboring building as their lower floors were engulfed by the factory fire, and decided to act.
According to one of the workers, the owner of the illegal factory locks the gates to the building every night in order to prevent theft. If it had not been for Verma’s heroic ingenuity, the employees may not have been able to escape.
Whoever said age is just a number has never been more correct in light of kindness and heroism.
Heroes don’t always wear capes. In fact, most dress in uniform, willing to go to lengths others wouldn’t. Such champions include Saved In America, a group of retired officers determined to see sex trafficking to an end. But as with most, there aren’t usually enough eyes to account for every victim. Luckily, skepticism exists inherently in many, which is what led ticket agent Denice Miracle towards the rescue of two teen girls.
“Between the two of them, they had a bunch of small bags,” Miracle said. “It seemed to me as if they were running away from home. They kept looking at each other in a way that seemed fearful and anxious. I had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right.”
Led to believe they would earn $2,000 to act in a music video, the teens ultimately fell for a far more dangerous scheme. After phoning the local sheriff, Miracle discovered both teens were carrying doctored one-way tickets.
“I’m proud of Denice and how she put her training into action to save these children,” said AA General Manager Aleka Turner.
Not all miracles are orchestrated by higher beings — sometimes they’re just people.
More often than not, society can be grisly. Many will turn a blind eye — but staying silent is many a time just as dangerous as not knowing. It’s individuals like dentist Kenny Wilstead, who treated a domestic abuse victim free-of-charge, who are calling attention to everyday horrors. Now, in a very public campaign, U.S. Navy Seals and retired officers are banding together to put an end to human trafficking.
“It is partnerships such as this that play a significant role in law enforcement today, not only from a public safety standpoint but also as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who have been victimized,” wrote [Sheriff] Mike Williams.
The group, Saved In America, works within the system and employs volunteers. The foundation takes cases on missing juveniles, and rehabilitating those who are rescued.
“People don’t realize this is going on in their own backyards. This isn’t in some far away country with very poor people,” says Joshua Travers, Joseph’s son, a former U.S. Marine and SAIM’s case manager.
When high-profile cases are shelved, we often forget that, for many, the search isn’t over.
Historically, dogs are famed for being highly affectionate companions. Some will risk their lives for two-legged family members, whether or not there is a bone at the end of the tunnel. Despite the heroism of man’s best friend, breed-specific bans remain intact (save for those that are now abolished). Yet pit bulls, a most-feared animal, continue to ride against the odds. Just a night ago, Ruby, a three-year-old pittie, saved Ronene Ando from a dangerous gas leak.
“Typically she only barks for one reason, and that’s if someone is at the door,” [said Ando.]
For an hour and a half, the therapy dog refused to let up. Ando then followed her persistent pup into the basement, where she discovered a leak in her propane heater. Had it not been for Ruby, Ando and her husband would’ve potentially succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Dogs are typically intuitive. I believe that breed is even more so with all the research I’ve done, and I think that was it, hands down.”
Remember, folks, if you’ve come across a pit bull with a rap sheet, it’s likely due to abuse or neglect. All dogs are good dogs.
In a controversial era for law enforcement, not every cop has been a bad egg. Among them is the police force of El Segundo, who helped raise funds for a robbed teen. Latest to join the club is Indiana cop Richard Mayer, who spent his first lunch as a cop saving a toddler.
“I looked over and she started gagging. I could see something kind of in the back of her throat, mistakenly reached in to try to grab it out, I think that pushed it back into her throat,” Hasse recalled.
The heroic cop was lunching with colleagues at Chick-fil-A when the frenzied mother approached their table. Hasse then performed back slaps on the child and dislodged the apple chunk almost immediately.
“This is what he was meant to do,” Hasse said. “To save lives in some kind of way.”
Talk about first-day jitters! Luckily, all Hasse’s efforts paid off.
From banning their inclusion in recreational hunting and circus shows, bears are off to a great start in the new year. While those in the wild are frolicking in undisturbed freedom, those kept illegally are still waiting for rescue. For two of Nepal’s last known dancing bears, the delay has come to an end with the help of the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal.
“We know that Rangila and Sridevi were suffering in captivity since they [were] poached from the wild and their muzzles were pierced with hot iron rods,” [said] Neil D’Cruze of World Animal Protection.
Despite the 1973 ban, bear dancing has permeated throughout Nepal. Many handlers turned to violent training methods, even removing the bears’ teeth. While rescue doesn’t liberate an animal from psychological trauma, extensive rehabilitation usually gets the job done.
“They will need long-term, specialized care, but many bears rescued from bear dancing and baiting have been able to live out the rest of their lives peacefully in sanctuaries,” [D’Cruze] said.
Both middle-aged, it’s about time Rangila and Sridevi received a hard-earned break!