Like humans, animals often find themselves in situations of need. Thankfully, there are compassionate people who are ready to spring to their aid, sometimes even at the risk of their own safety. Here are some inspiring stories from people who impressed us so much with their compassion that we recognised them with an award!
Happisburgh Lifeboat Crew
Labrador Quila had been swept out to sea by strong tides at Sea Palling, just days before Christmas last year. Quila’s guardian had taken her out for a walk along the coast when she spotted a seal pup and ran into the sea to play with the animal. Powerful tides dragged Quila away from the shore, and her guardian soon lost sight of her, fearing the worst.
Braving the waters, Happisburgh lifeboat crew showed courage and determination in finding Quila, whom they discovered on rocks on a reef. Their selfless act undoubtedly saved Quila’s life in what can only be described as a “Christmas miracle”.
DJ Mike Read
In February, a puppy named Digby fell into the fast-flowing River Thames during a walk with his guardian at Henley. He was unable to compete with the strong current and struggled to swim to safety.
After seeing Digby’s situation, former Radio One and Top of the Pops presenter DJ Mike Read heroically came to the puppy’s aid, saving his life. If Mike had not acted, the puppy’s life would almost certainly have ended in tragedy.
In addition to physical acts of bravery, spreading the message of animal rights is hugely important. After seeing the groundbreaking documentary Blackfish about the plight of captive orcas, teacher Lee Parkinson decided to educate his Year 5 class at Davyhulme Primary School in Manchester about the cruelty of marine parks with a creative storytelling project. Thanks to his compassion, the up-and-coming generation learned the vital lesson that animals are not ours to abuse for entertainment!
Josie Russell and Iwan Griffith
Josie Russell, who survived a terrifying hammer attack 17 years ago, demonstrated her empathy and compassion when she was out walking with her boyfriend, Iwan, in Snowdonia and spotted a frightened cat stranded in a flooded quarry. With no escape route, Benny was in great distress and is unlikely to have survived if no one had found him.
Without wasting a moment, Josie and Iwan intervened to save his life. They paddled over in a canoe and coaxed the cat into the vessel with food. Thanks to their quick thinking, Benny was soon reunited with his guardians, safe and sound.
A defenceless greyhound was being publicly beaten in the street by his so-called “guardian” in Bristol. Loyal by nature, the poor dog would have felt confused and traumatised at his guardian’s behaviour, not to mention the great physical pain.
Chris Wright was with his girlfriend when he came across the appalling scene and knew it was right to intervene. He confronted the thug and asked him to leave the animal alone. The volatile man responded by attacking Chris, breaking his jaw. In a completely inspiring act of bravery and selflessness, Chris put his own life at risk to save the dog. In addition to recognising Chris with an award, we have also offered a reward to help bring the violent dog abuser to justice.
Anyone can be a hero to animals. It doesn’t take physical strength or heroic bravery to help them – just a compassionate heart. If you know anyone who is a hero to animals, let us know in the comments section, as we would love to hear about it. And remember that if you ever see an animal in distress, please do the right thing and help however you can. Animals might not be able to say thank you out loud, but they will be eternally grateful.