So many amazing animal stories, so little time. And the eleven animals listed here (some you may have already heard of) come from articles that have been published during this week alone!
First, is Time's list of Top-10 Heroic Animals. It's a diverse group of dogs, cats, horses, pigeons, and even a dolphin! Some personal favorites:
- Stubby, a stray pup who ingratiated himself with the 102nd infantry, Yankee Division during WWI, only to become a loyal friend -- and a war hero!
- Magic the Miniature Mare, a therapy horse whose mere presence led a patient in an assisted-living facility to speak for the first time in three years: "Isn't she beautiful?"
Then, it's the life and times of a miniature guide horse in Michigan. Of course, there's something undeniably special about any service animal (just ask somebody who has hosted, trained, or been assisted by a dog from our friends at Canine Companions for Independence or Guide Dogs for the Blind); what's so special about this particular story is that it gives an unusually detailed view into the day-to-day life of a woman and her seeing-eye horse. It covers everything from issues that arise when entering a business or riding public transportation with a miniature horse to what happens when an Arkansas-trained horse encounters a snowbank for the first time.
It's an inspiring, well-written piece, but the best line of all comes from the owner herself:
"You have a different bond with a service animal. Imagine if your pet had to do something for you that you couldn't do yourself. It would mean so much more to you. Sometimes sitting in public with Cali I will just hug her and kiss her, I just can't even explain to you how much I love her. She's so loyal. I can't imagine going and getting another horse."
Cali the horse seems rather pleased with her good work, as well:
The first time Mona wouldn't listen to Cali, she ran into something. “Since then, I've come to trust her judgment,” says Ramouni. At times like these, when Cali does her job better than anyone could have trained her to, Ramouni is likely to lean over and hug the horse’s neck. “People tell me that when I do that, her face turns happy and her ears go forward. One of the things I wish for most in the world is that I could see her face,” says Ramouni.
What wonderful animals; what an amazing bond!